Ms. Panuccio Offers A New Perspective on Science


In my experiences with various teachers, science teachers are definitely among the most unique. In talking with the new science teacher here at MSDA, Ms. Panuccio, I can say that that fact is most certainly true.

I first asked about some basic information, including where she went to college, what her major was, and what she did before she started working here at the Mount. As a student at Rutgers University, Ms. Panuccio majored in both History and Physics, with a minor in Math. She actually worked in the research lab at the university before coming here to work as a teacher of Physics Honors and CP Chemistry.

As a new teacher at the school, I was curious about why she wanted to become a teacher in the first place.

“I decided to become a science teacher when I was working in the student labs,” Ms. Panuccio said. “I really liked explaining things to students when they didn’t understand, and seeing when they made that connection.”

I consider myself a science person, if you will, so I was naturally curious about why and how she became a science person herself. She told me that ever since she was very young, she had a big interest in astronomy, and her love of the subject grew into a passion for physics in general. She added that math and science have always been her favorite subjects in school, which contributed to her wanting a career in a science field.

As a student, I often take notice of my teachers’ “philosophies.” In other words, what do they feel that they can bring to the table for their students, and why is an experience learning with them unique.

“I want students to build confidence in themselves. That’s what’s most important,” Ms. Panuccio responded when asked about her own teaching philosophy. “Yes, it’s important to learn the material, but if you don’t learn that confidence to trust yourself along with the material, a class will not be as beneficial.”

Again, I love science, and I believe that everyone who has a love for science feels that way for a different reason. Ms. Panuccio shared that her favorite thing about science is doing labs. She says that when doing a lab you have everything you need right in front of you, and it gives you the ability to see how science is applied in real-life situations. Ms. Panuccio also believes that science encourages exploration, another reason why she enjoys labs so much. 

Out of my own personal curiosity, I really wanted to know if there was any scientific advancement that she would be particularly interested in seeing come to fruition in the near future. Ms. Panuccio offered some new perspective on energy sources.

“It would be amazing if people in the scientific community could somehow create and harvest nuclear energy to use as a main energy source instead of fuels,” Ms. Panuccio commented. “Wind and solar power are really good, but I think using nuclear energy would be a great way to go, if they could figure out how to access it.”

Ms. Panuccio’s goal is to “break the traditional mold of what learning in a classroom can be.” She wants her students to be able to freely explore and apply what they learn to real-life situations.

In short, science is a complicated and thought-provoking subject. We are lucky enough to have Ms. Panuccio enlighten us all.

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