About me

Welcome! My name is Nadia Lara. I have loved science since I was very young and I’ve had an excitement for teaching since Mrs. Smith let me teach her math class once in sixth grade. I received my B.S. in chemistry from Caltech in 2012 and my Ph.D. from Rice University in 2016. [In one sentence,] My doctoral thesis was about explaining how a proposed cancer treatment device heats different kinds of materials and how we may be able to get something (like a tumor) to heat more than the rest of the human body. After spending many years on a number of different research projects and in various teaching assistant positions, I officially began my career in education in the fall of 2016, teaching high school math. Today, I am a physics and chemistry teacher at (and also an alumna from!) St. Agnes Academy in Houston, TX.

When I’m not doing school-related things, I love spending time with my husband and daughter, reading, watching TV, playing board games, and going to the park. One of these days my husband will finally talk me into going back to the rock climbing gym with him.

About the blog

The name Need to Know Science comes from an interview in ACS Voices of Inorganic Chemistry with Prof. Harry Gray, one of my college professors who is an incredible scientist and exceptional educator. He has a passion for giving young people a “need to know,” a profound desire to understand how things work that leads them to study math, science, and engineering.

My own “need to know” was born in my high school chemistry classes. I hope that my experience in research gives me a unique perspective and hopefully a positive angle from which I can excite my students about math and science.

Starting out in this profession, some of my best resources have been websites and blogs written by experienced teachers. One of my goals for this blog is to share what I am learning in the beginning of my career, and add the voice of someone presently going through those trials. I definitely do not have all the answers, but rather I hope to improve my craft through self-reflection, writing, and dialogue with other teachers. If you want to be part of this adventure, follow the blog, like my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter! I look forward to learning from you.

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