Instead of me explaining things to my students, Knowles Teacher Initiative helped make sure my students are the ones explaining things to each other and to me.”
Victor Chen grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, and was fascinated by science all through middle school and high school. As a 9th grader, he won the state Science Olympiad and competed at the national tournament. Victor graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, picking up an additional major in chemistry because he loved the subject.
As he neared his final term at Madison, Victor thought he was destined for a PhD and a life of research. He went to the University of Michigan to begin a doctorate in biomedical engineering, and spent five years researching the use of biodegradable polymer scaffolds to grow artificial bone tissue.
“A few years into my doctoral program, I realized that I was not going to be happy being a lab rat. I needed to work with people and I had a strong desire to teach students.” He volunteered as a Science Olympiad coach at high schools in various towns in Michigan, including Plymouth, Canton and Salem, and never looked back.
After completing his PhD, Victor earned his Master of Arts and teaching certification from the University of Michigan. He began teaching at Thurston High School in 2007.