Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Teacher preparation program:
Portland State University
Anticipated date of graduation:
Ever since he first watched The Magic School Bus and Bill Nye the Science Guy as a child, Alex Steinkamp has been excited about science. “Science was where magic was to be found, where you could predict the future and reveal the past.” He was inspired by his high school physics teacher to make physics his main area of study in college. “He presented the material in such a way that I could see the true beauty of the subject. Experiments meant we had to think about how physics works, how to control what we cannot explain, and how to use what we had on hand to test our ideas.”
As Alex studied physics in college and conducted research in a biophysics lab, he was able to reaffirm these core ideas as the true nature of science. He considers himself lucky to have been exposed to this thinking early on and hopes to emulate his teacher in “helping students see physics for what it really is.”
Alex graduated with a BS in physics from Harvey Mudd College, where he was awarded the Jon A. Wunderlich Prize for Creativity in Physics Research. He studied in Japan as an undergraduate and interned for a year in a biophysics laboratory at the National Institutes of Health. Alex volunteers as a GED tutor with at-risk and marginalized youth and helps community college students with their science and math coursework.
Alex believes that supporting good teachers should be a priority for our society, “as they touch hundreds of students' lives throughout their careers and have an incalculable value to our society.” He hopes to teach in the Pacific Northwest, preferably in Oregon or Washington State.