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Spotlight On: David Woulfin

David Woulfin is a STEM and AIS Math teacher at Chancellor.  He will also be co-teaching a morning STEM club and an afternoon STEM Fair activity. This is his third year in the district after a decade of teaching math and science in other parts of the Hudson Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Mills College and holds teaching certifications in Childhood Education, Physics, and (very soon) Earth Science.  David lives in Red Hook with his wife Mia and two sons, Ezekiel and Nikolai.

RSF-David-WoulfinHow did you get interested in the sciences?
My first job out of college was at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, one of the best hands-on science museums in the world. I was an “Explainer” – I got to wander around the museum floor in a bright-orange vest talking to museum guests and field trip groups about all the cool stuff around us. And every couple hours I would do demos like Cow Eye Dissections and Laser shows. This was the first time in my life that I saw how science could be fascinating, accessible, and fun for everyone.

What is the one big change that gets you excited about the future (or keeps you up at night)?
Despite many of the problematic things I see in public education across the nation, one big change I see is the national push for STEM education for all students. I saw it at the Project Lead the Way training I attended this summer, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it in Rhinebeck.

Who do you follow on Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram) in STEM fields?
I follow many science and STEM related accounts on Twitter, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Eric Holthaus, Michael Pollan, The SETI Institute, WIRED, Curiosity Rover, Radiolab, Science Friday, IFLS, Project Lead the Way and many others. The amount of amazing STEM-related information out there has exploded in the last few years. I soak it in on a daily basis.

What do you do when outside of school?
When I’m not planning cool STEM activities at CLS, I am doing fun things with my own family like coaching soccer, cooking, gardening, and hiking.

Tell us about setting up the STEM lab at CLS. 
First, I got to sort through the science lab closet. There was a veritable history museum of science education in there: vintage microscopes, a KEN-A-Vision microprojector, an old telescope, hundreds of rocks and minerals, magnets, and multiple models of human body organs! It’s great stuff. I’m keeping a lot of it for use in the lab, but some of it had to go. Now I’ve started organizing all the Project Lead the Way materials along with the iPad cart. I’m so grateful to RSF for providing these invaluable resources. I’m thrilled to come to work every day.

What is your big goal for this year?
My goal for this year is to get all the students at CLS excited about STEM and to start to build their knowledge and skill base. This will promote confidence and enthusiasm around STEM topics like robotics, light and sound, coding, structure and function. I hope that CLS students will share all the great things we are doing here with their families.