Mr. McLaughlin writes...
I was born and raised in the town of Cape May in Southern New Jersey. Having grown up within about 5 minutes of the beach, my love for the ocean, salt air, and surf will always remain with me. After my sophomore year in high school, I became an open water lifeguard at Stone Harbor Beach Patrol and remained there for 7 summers. This was a great summer job for me as it allowed me to compete in swimming and running events year-round, a great supplement to my athletic career during the school year.
After high school, I moved on to pursue my undergraduate education in a small liberal arts school called York College of Pennsylvania, continuing to run track & field throughout college. I entered as an undeclared major with a largely undeclared future and quickly became interested in psychology and the philosophy of human nature. I decided to focus my studies in psychology while supplementing in biology as much as possible to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that facilitate human emotion, behavior, motivation, and perception. As I delved deeper into these topics, I decided that a career conducting research in neuroscience and genetics, while also teaching in academia, would be a fitting career path. Before heading to graduate school, I decided to take a year off to do some traveling and ended up spending about 4 months in the jungles of Southern Peru working as a research assistant to an ornithologist. This trip allowed me to begin fulfilling my dreams of world travel. I was able to experience interesting cultures, dispositions, and the human condition in an entirely new way.
Upon returning to the U.S., it was back to the lab for me. I decided to head to Temple University for graduate school to study biology and put myself on a trajectory towards a career in academia. While there, I began working in a developmental genetics lab and focused on studying behavior from a molecular genetics perspective using zebrafish as a model organism.
Throughout my studies I slowly became more interested in teaching, mentoring, and sharing the gift of knowledge with others. I was encouraged by my advisor to apply for a National Science Foundation Fellowship that would allow me to work in a high school part time, bringing my science into the classroom while simultaneously testing the waters of teaching in a secondary school setting. As it turned out, I loved being in the high school setting and dealing with students that were fascinated by having a scientist in the classroom. I began bringing zebrafish into the classroom as much as possible, something that the students seemed enjoy and look forward to when I would visit. It was an entirely new way for them to experience learning biology. Over a single school year, I was able to watch these students grow and become more interested in learning science. So, it was decided; I would begin looking for a career teaching in the secondary school setting.
During my search, Priory got a hold of my application materials through a third party recruiting agency that I was working with and contacted me. After a series of great conversations and a visit to campus, I was offered the opportunity to do what I love in an interesting part of the country that I had never even been to before. I look forward to my first year as a full-time science teacher and coach and the chance to share my experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm for science with the community. I anticipate both a productive and enjoyable experience here at Priory where I can continue to learn, grow, and most importantly, teach. Go Rebels!