Today we are introducing you to former Ensworth student and current high school science teacher Carrie Gauchat! We learn something new every time we do these post too, we didn’t know Ms. Gauchat was a former student! So here we go…
Q: You are a science teacher at EHS. Tell us a little bit about how you got to Ensworth and your background.
A: Well, I actually went to the lower school when I was younger, but ending up a science teacher here was not a direct route. I got my undergraduate degree in physics from Belmont and then went on to get my masters degree in materials science and engineering at Vanderbilt. Right after I graduated I got a call from a former professor at Belmont asking if I would be willing to teach one of his classes while he was out for seven weeks. I have been teaching ever since. I had really had the idea of potentially teaching high school when in graduate school. My program was part of the National Nano Initiative and I thought it would be really neat to be able to introduce all of the new and exciting things that were going on in current research at the high school level. I could not think of a better, more receptive environment than Ensworth. So, I wrote a letter outlining my idea and the rest is history.
Q: What is your favorite part about teaching science? What is one of the main lessons that you want your students to leave with at the end of the year?
A: One of my favorite things about teaching science, and physics in particular, is how much it forces you to think and rethink the Universe in which we live. I want students to be able to move through the problem-solving process making enlightened and intelligent decisions, yet possess the malleability of mind to accept something new. In the words of Alvin Toffler it will really be a person’s ability to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” that will help them to be successful in the 21st century.
A: Wow, I have so many memories from that trip. It was exhausting in so many ways both physical and emotional. I guess one of my worst yet favorite memories was our first night in Haiti. It had been an extremely long day with a flight from the Dominican and then a two and a half hour commute up a mountain that felt like we were driving up a flight of stairs the entire time. I think we only actually went about 20 miles during the entire car trip. It rained most of the way so when we reached the top most of our things that had been in the back were soaked. We, meaning the six women on the trip, all slept that night in the same tent on what dry patches we could find. Ironically, I don’t think I laughed as hard the entire trip as I did that night. It was miserable to the point of being comic. I learned when you are in a situation where you have no other choice but to laugh or cry, laughter is preferable. I think that was something the Haitian people we met on top of the mountain had already learned.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that we would be surprised to know! A hidden talent? Something like that…
A: Hmmmm, if I have some sort of hidden talent, it is well hidden:). I guess most people would be surprised to know that while a student at Ensworth I was taught by Mr. Chanaca, Mr. Schneider, Mrs. Schultz, Coach Keeble, Coach Mitchell, Mr. Arthur, Mrs. Pickel, Mrs. Little, and, yes, I survived Kautzman! All teachers currently still teaching at Ensworth which is kind of neat.
Q: Tell us about the moment in college that you decided you wanted to pursue science. Was it a professor? A Class?
A: It was really a combination of being inspired by the knowledge I gained in grad school and the opportunity given to me by my professor at Belmont.
Q: Who is the next person from the RG campus that you would like to see featured?
A: I’m going to keep Robin’s trend and pass this opportunity on to our other Haiti buddy Barbara Royse.