“When you walk into her classroom, you see girls actively engaged -- asking questions, making conjectures, testing hypotheses." - Pam Hartshorne, Middle School Director
Columbus School for Girls middle school teacher Julie Biswas always had an interest in knowing how things work, but an education career -- let alone one focused on science -- wasn’t her first choice.
It was only after working as a hairdresser and styling instructor that she decided to go back to school and pursue her true calling.
“I felt at home explaining how things worked and really enjoyed learning about how the brain works,” she said. “This, along with wanting to work with young people, put me into the direction of teaching. Once I was in the classroom, it just felt right.”
Biswas, 56, graduated from Ohio State University in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in biology education. Now she is the middle school winner in the 2020 Teachers of the Year awards.
Biswas became interested in science while growing up in North Hampton, a rural community just outside Springfield.
“When I was in school, I wasn’t the best student, much less the best science student. But I was always interested in how things work,” said Biswas, who lives in Galena with her husband of 30 years, Arun; their daughter, Sanghita, a CSG alumna and recent college graduate; and their son Aneel, a St. Charles Preparatory School alumnus and junior at Ohio State. “My dad is a farmer and a tinkerer. He’s always trying to make things better.”
Since joining CSG, Biswas’ work in the classroom has been recognized with several awards and grants, including the 2011 Dorothy Sehring Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually in memory of the longtime CSG educator. Biswas also serves as the team leader for eighth grade and as middle school student council co-adviser.
“When you walk into her classroom, you see girls actively engaged -- asking questions, making conjectures, testing hypotheses. She values each student’s thoughts and opinions and encourages them to stretch and take risks in a supportive environment,” said Director of Middle School Pamela Hartshorne, who nominated Biswas for the award. “I value her partnership and regularly seek her counsel, and I also appreciate the constant support she offers to our parents as they start their journey into middle school.”
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