Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Jessica Scheimer is a rock star

She's better than a rock star: she's a new physics teacher and she's made of win. I was willing to keep quiet about her because you'd think I was breathlessly gushing about another one of my former students as I sometimes do. But the cat is out the bag and the beans are spilled. My license to gush? Granted!

The good news about Rio Americano physics prodigy-turned-high-school-teacher, Jessica Scheimer, hit the Davis Enterprise last week when I was out negotiating the tenuous lava cliffs of Ingólfshöfði in hopes of getting a shot of the elusive puffin. But I digress.

Jessica Scheimer is a Knowles Foundation Fellow. Most people don't know how big a deal that is. It's huge. But Jessica is all manner of worthy. She burned up my Physics 1 course. She was the first to register for AP Physics 2 when course selections opened for the next year. And she set the river of AP Physics 2 completely ablaze. She outshone her peers in a class that included some very bright students.

Jessica ate up everything the two-year sequence had to offer. Nothing slowed her down. And she wasn't just flexing academic muscle: she was clearly into it. She was up to the task no matter how tough the task was. She did much better in my class than I would have done when I was her age. (Any such match would have been stopped by officials enforcing a mercy rule.) And she continued to shine at UC Davis, where they laid out a red carpet to keep her for post-graduate teacher training.

The good people at Knowles, who must turn away some 90% of fellowship applicants, figured out Jessica's talent, industry, and the whole of her intangibles.

The fellowship they granted is valued at $150,000 in financial assistance, stipends, professional development, mentoring, leadership, and support. It's like a MacArthur genius grant for new teachers. And it was made for people like Jessica. I'm beside myself with joy that Jessica found Knowles and Knowles found Jessica. They've posted their own version of a Jessica Scheimer miniBio page.

Congratulations to neighborhood "rival," Jesuit, for snapping Jessica up before the bidding wars that should have broken out over who would get the privilege of signing her. I'm not going to lie: I'm terribly jealous.

I could sing the praises of Jessica Scheimer for days without end, but read Jeff Hudson's article. It's written by a professional. And it did reduce me to tears for a moment. If she had been your student, you'd get blubbery, too.

I get more than anyone's fair share of amazingly brilliant students. Goodwin Liu, Linsey Marr, Jason Kamras, Susan Crown, and many, many more. Most (if not all) are ten times smarter than I'll ever be. I'm very proud of all of them, and delighted when someone else recognizes them for their awesomeness.

But when of the best-ever chooses to teach physics, I can barely keep my limbs from bursting off in an overload of happiness. I know Jessica will harbor some misgivings about me raving about her like this. But as a public figure, she's just going to have to deal with it. As a consolation, I offer Jessica a giggle in the form of this post's timestamp.

Thanks to Rio legend, Al Manfredi, for passing the Enterprise article to me.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Dean!

I just came across the write up of Jessica Scheimer in the Davis Enterprise myself and was going to pass it on to you, but it looks like others beat me to it.

Its nice to see fine people such as yourself getting acknowledged for there contributions in mentoring others. Former students such as myself really do appreciate the time and effort you put into your classes even way back when and I am sure future students will as well (even if they bitch about it while they are going through it).

Congrats again you really do deserve it!

Keith Wetherall
Class of 88.

Stevie Ray said...

Yeah - you're all bubbly and gushy now but wait until she starts recruiting some of your AP Physics students. Actually, I think its FANTASTIC that Jessica is a physics teacher. Can PAEMST be very far off in her future?