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Students take highly diverse routes to learning, and as a teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure that each route remains open.

John Holcomb
2014 Fellow

John Holcomb

2014 Fellow
UIC College Prep
Chicago, Illinois

John feels that he’s been a teacher of sorts since middle school. It was then when he discovered how much he enjoyed helping friends with their homework and classes, particularly Spanish and math. By high school, he frequently volunteered his time as a tutor. Many of John’s friends and classmates enlisted his help with math and science homework and preparing for major exams. He realized that explaining advanced science and math concepts was particularly thrilling, because it afforded him the opportunity to help others and to deepen his own understanding of the subject matter.

While studying chemistry at the University of Minnesota, John worked as a chemistry teaching specialist, a physics and astronomy learning assistant, and an undergraduate chemistry research assistant. After graduation, he was hired to work in the Display and Graphics Business Lab (DGBL) at 3M, where he assisted in the development of a liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. His biggest accomplishments during his tenure at 3M include having two of his prototypes displayed in the DGBL booth at a company-wide showcase and having his research featured at a DGBL prototype show. Both events were attended by the outgoing CEO and his successor.

Thinking that he wanted to pursue a career in synthetic polymer chemistry, he enrolled in a chemistry doctoral program at Cornell University. He immediately fell in love with his teaching assistant duties, leading to the discovery that his calling was the classroom, not the lab. He began his transition to teaching by enrolling in the Master of Science in education program at Northwestern University.

John loves leveraging students’ innate curiosity and amazement when teaching about anything, but especially the atomic world. He anticipates that being a KSTF Fellow will give him ample opportunity to improve upon all aspects of his teaching practice.

He is passionate about making other people smile through humor and levity. John enjoys spending time with his fiancée, running and practicing Spanish. Additionally, he loves spending time on the lake at his cabin in Pine City, Minnesota.