STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, shines when it comes to engaging content and teachers. A huge contributor to the STEM departments is the science aspect. Timber Creek’s science department stands out among all other courses due to the genuine dedication to their subject, and the student body is very passionate about their appreciation for this subject and group of educators.

There are many teachers that demonstrate an authentic love for their content, and one that immediately comes to mind is Alan Cotten. He currently teaches Pre-AP and AP Biology.

“I’m able to laugh and learn at the same time, and that really makes the difference in [his] class,” AP Biology student, sophomore Hannah Ongmanchi said.

While Cotten focuses on teaching in-depth lessons, just like every other class, he finds a way to bring the material to life and make it more interesting to students who may have not enjoyed biology before.

“He’s funny,” Ongmanchi said.

Cotten’s funny stories are truly crucial to making a class that everyone, or nearly everyone, will like. Not only does it make the material more interesting, but it also allows for more students to retain key information and goes a long way.

Like Cotten, Mary Ann Dawson is another teacher who truly enjoys what she teaches, and her passion for chemistry comes to light when she’s instructing. As one of the school’s amazing Pre-AP Chemistry teachers, she prepares students to go into other science classes whilst still educating them in her specific subject and, sometimes, common sense.

“I like her teaching style, and she aids in learning if you’re trying,” sophomore Aiden Nguyen said. “She’s really passionate about what she is teaching.”

Dawson takes pleasure in talking to her students and helping them grow to appreciate chemistry and science in general, as proven by the many students that go on to take AP Chemistry. Students like Nguyen very much appreciate teachers like Dawson, making her a true cornerstone of the science department.

Shelley Hawkins is another phenomenal Pre-AP and AP Chemistry teacher, and her students consistently speak of how amazing she is.

“I think she’s a really good teacher,” sophomore Katie Condit said. “Her explanations are always concise and easy to understand.”

For her students, it’s always nice to go to a teacher who can effortlessly explain the course material, which is something Hawkins excels in.

“She’s the best chemistry teacher I’ve ever had,” Condit shared.

Another sophomore, Elaine Meneses, really appreciates Hawkins’ tough love.

“She holds you accountable and it really keeps me on track,” Meneses said. “She doesn’t sugarcoat, which is honestly very helpful because I’m aware of where I need to improve.”

Not only is Hawkins’ stern but caring nature beneficial for many, but she is also very responsible.

“Her tutorials vary, but she makes sure that everyone’s aware of them, so there’s no confusion and people don’t miss getting the help they need,” Meneses said.

It’s truly comforting to see that Timber Creek is in the hands and care of such an amazing science department. Many students are thankful for the collaboration between teachers, grade levels, and subjects within the department, which makes science at this school so extraordinary. Passion, knowledge, and education skills are big aspects every teacher should be proficient in, but this group of teachers truly shines to make Timber Creek stand out.

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