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The Student Newspaper of Hopkins School

    • Jessica DeVos will be joining the Modern Language department (photo: Courtesy of DeVos).

    • Sarah Belbita will be joining the History department (photo: Courtesy of Belbita).

    • Priscilla Encarnacao will be joining the Science department (photo: Courtesy of Encarnacao).

    • Michael Roy will be joining the Classic Language department (photo: Courtesy of Roy).

    • Sarah Ireland will be joining the Math department (photo: Courtesy of Ireland).

    • Stephen Sacchetti will be joining the Math department (photo: Courtesy of Sacchetti).

    • Alexandra Kelly will be joining the English department (photo: Courtesy of Kelly).

    • Susan Skalka will be joining the ASP staff (photo: Courtesy of Skalka).

The Razor Welcomes New Faculty to the Hopkins Community

Sixteen new faculty join Hopkins this academic year.
Jessica DeVos

Where did you grow up? I was born in Maryland, but grew up in Minnesota from the age of three.
What is your academic background? I received an excellent education in Minnesota’s public school system, before attending Bryn Mawr College as an undergraduate and Yale University for my doctorate.
What courses are you teaching? I will be teaching French and Italian language classes.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? As an undergraduate I majored in East Asian Studies, with a focus on China’s Shang and Zhou dynasties. Sadly, my Mandarin is now very rusty and there is little room in my days for the study of oracle bones, bronze ritual vessels, and the classics of Confucianism.
Tell us about a book, film, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. While I have dozens of favorite books, there are very few that have impacted me personally. The one that immediately comes to mind is Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson, which I read for the first time when I was a senior in high school. The descriptions of loss, mourning, and loneliness are psychologically insightful and communicated in breathtakingly poetic prose.
What is your favorite animal, and why? I love all animals and am an excessively doting mother to my cats – Bert and Gabby.


Sarah Belbita

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Southeastern Connecticut.
What is your academic background? A.A. Liberal Studies; B.A. History; M. Ed. Education. I previously taught middle school humanities at a prep school. 
What courses are you teaching? Grade Seven History and Atlantic Communities I
What was your favorite experience as a student? My favorite experience was tenth grade history class because my teacher was a wonderful combination of stern, funny and unique. I will always remember the way demeanor changed when she would discuss details about famous historical figures and how she would stomp around the room when reenacting battle scenes. I credit her with solidifying my interest in this intriguing subject. 
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I enjoy tending to my vegetable garden and currently have tomato plants taller than me! 
Tell us about a book, film, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. The book We Band of Angels by Elizabeth Norman chronicles women military nurses stationed in the Philippines during the beginning of WWII and is inspirational with its messages of survival, perseverance and finding forgiveness.


Priscilla Encarnacao

Where did you grow up? I grew up in the city of white Plains which is a suburb of NYC. 
What is your academic background? I received my BS with a double major in biology and environmental theories and applications with minors in physics and chemistry. I received my PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology with a concentration in molecular pharmacology and drug development from UConn. I did two postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University; the first for three years in internal medicine with a concentration in hepatology and the second in pharmacology with a concentration in inside-out cell signaling. 
What courses are you teaching? I am teaching authentic research and biology.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I was a NCAA college athlete. I was a catcher and right fielder for my college softball team. I coached a NCAA division II bowling program. I have 4 ducks and 3 dogs. 
Are you a sports fan? I am a huge sports fan. I root for everything NY including my favorite NY Mets, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks. I also love watching and playing golf, softball, and bowling. 
What is your favorite animal, and why? My favorite animal is the sea turtle. I just love how beautiful, massive, and majestic they are.


Michael Roy

Where did you grow up? Norwalk, CT
What is your academic background? B.A. Classics, Trinity College (Hartford, CT); J.D. Cornell Law School
What courses are you teaching? Latin 7, Latin 8, and Latin II
What was your favorite experience as a student? In my junior year of high school, my Latin 3 teacher discarded the standard printed Latin texts and instead wrote his own text entitled “Latin Relativity.” The course consisted of reading original Latin passages on topics that might engage modern high school students, such as ear, violence, justice, civil disobedience, protest, and social problems. It was eye-opening to discover how similar the issues and problems of Ancient Rome were to those of modern America.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? After practicing law for about 10 years, I switched my career to that of a stay-at-home dad so that I could care for our two children and support my spouse in her own legal career. It was easily the hardest job of my life, but also the most rewarding. 
Are you a sports fan? I am a huge fan of the New York Yankees (but I don’t hate the Red Sox), New York Giants (football), UConn basketball (men and women), and UConn football. The primary sport that I participate in is fantasy baseball (since 1985!). In another one of my careers, I was a baseball writer for baseballhq.com and USA Today, specializing in analyzing player performance for fantasy baseball fans.


Sarah Ireland

Where did you grow up? I was born in Ireland, but my parents traveled a lot while I was growing up, so I grew up in India, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, and then went to a boarding school in the U.S. for high school.
What is your academic background? I went to Phillips Exeter Academy for high school and have a BA from Yale University.  At Yale, I studied Computer Science, Architecture, Economics, and Sociology.   
What courses are you teaching? Intro to Computer Science, Topics in Computer Science, and Pre-Algebra!  I’m also coaching the Mathcounts Team!
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I am the smallest member of my very large family (I’m one of 7 children), and they like to “crush” me in every photo we take together. I’m 5’-1” and they’re all 6’-3” and above.  I love to travel and eat food from all over the world.  The strangest things I’ve ever eaten were probably ants, grasshoppers, brain (disgusting), and bones. I wouldn’t recommend the brain.
Are you a sports fan? My whole extended family are huge Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fans.  We also follow the Washington Capitals, and go to a game every chance we get!  We also love to throw parties and have people over to eat food and watch the game.
What is your favorite animal, and why? My favorite animal is by far our labrador puppy, Mr. Carson.  He is a happy little guy, always eager to snuggle and play, and extremely gentle. We are training him to be a therapy animal in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.


Stephen Sacchetti
 
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Hamden, CT.  
What is your academic background? I got my B.S. in Mathematics from Haverford College and then received my M.S. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  
What courses are you teaching? I will be teaching two sections of Math 40 (Algebra II) and two sections of Math 55 (Advanced Precalculus AB).
Are you a sports fan? I play all of the racket sports, but badminton is the sport with which I’ve had the most practice.  I’m also a huge Cincinnati Bengals fan.  
Tell us about a book, film, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. Growing up, I always used to watch Boy Meets World and the values and appreciation for education evident throughout the series helped me decide to become a teacher.  
What is your favorite animal, and why? My favorite animal is the emperor penguin.  When I was in elementary school, I used to check out animal books from the library, and the Emperor Penguin stood out to me because we were the same height at the time.  Since then, I’ve read a lot about different types of penguins and the rockhopper penguin has been high on my list of favorites.  Narwhals are up there, too.  And so is the mantis shrimp.  


Alexandra Kelly

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Southbury, CT.
What is your academic background? After graduating from The Taft School, I attended Bates College, where I was a pre-med English major (and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in English!).  During my junior year, I studied abroad at Worcester College, University of Oxford, where I realized that I loved literature too much to give it up to pursue medicine.  I spent a year teaching (chemistry, at first!) at Taft as a Teaching Fellow, and then I began teaching English full-time at Kent School.  During summers, I have taken courses at Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English, and I graduated with my Master of Arts degree on August 6!
What courses are you teaching? Two sections of 10th grade English, Love and Shakespeare, and Writing Semester
What was your favorite experience as a student? The best moments in my education have had to do with classes that have cohered so well that they form their own small, tight-knit communities within the school or university.  Every person in the room is valuable to the whole, and discussions are so deep and dynamic that they stretch everyone’s minds and ideas.  My senior year of high school, my AP English Literature class was one of these: one day in the fall, we were having such an intense discussion that when the bell rang, the class groaned in disappointment.  It was my first experience like that (though not the last), and it’s an atmosphere that I strive to foster in my classrooms as a teacher.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? My time in Oxford firmly cemented my Anglophilia, and between trips to England, I tide myself over by reading lots of British literature and drinking lots of tea.  I love to travel and explore new places.  I’m a pretty good baker and an intermediate knitter.  I don’t like chocolate.
Tell us about a book, film, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. As an English major/student/teacher, of course I’ve been shaped by Literature-with-a-capital-L.  But some of the things that have impacted me the most have been outside of the traditional canon.  When I was growing up, the novels of writers like Tamora Pierce were tremendously influential in forming my ideas about the type of person I wanted to be.  Set in a swords-and-sorcery fantasy landscape, her heroines (like Alanna, Daine, and Kel), were powerful, independent, honorable young women who worked to overcome injustice, protect the defenseless, and occasionally save the world.  Other writers who create similar types of characters: Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Juliet Marillier, Garth Nix, and Joss Whedon. 


Susan  Skalka
Where did you grow up? I was born in Rochester, NY.  Before the time I hit 18 I had lived in Rochester, moved outside of Chicago, back to another part of Rochester and then to Syosset, NY, when I was 12.
What is your academic background? I moved around a lot for college, as well.  I graduated from Penn State in Happy Valley with a BS in industrial Engineering.  After a few years working as an engineer, I returned to school and earned my MBA from Boston University.
What courses will you be teaching? I will be working in the ASP with a focus on Math and Science.
What has been your most embarrassing moment as a teacher or student? My most embarrassing moment as a teacher took place in an eighth grade English class.  The teacher whose room I was in goes all out when the class completes one of the books they are assigned.  She brings in an elaborate, homemade, wooden birdhouse as a prop for one of the stories.  I dropped my pen and when I bent down to get it one of the peaks on the birdhouse grazed my butt just enough to tear off my pocket and leave an 8” rip.  I don’t normally bring a spare pair of pants to school.  Lucky for me, my fleece was draped over my chair and I was able to tie it around my waist.  It was big and bulky and uncomfortable but it got the job done.  The most amazing part was that the eighth graders were oblivious to the rip, my horror and how ridiculous I looked with the jacket tied around me.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I enjoy a wide variety of activities but I’m not sure they are at hobby level.  I enjoy reading, gardening both vegetables and flowers, bringing resources together (i.e., several groups of Hopkins students visited Tower One/Tower East as a club or for community service.  My other job is at the Towers) being on sail boats, travel, studying and teaching about the Holocaust, music, theater and anything that includes being with my family
What is your favorite animal, and why? I love most animals, but as a pet I’d have to choose dogs. They tend to be even tempered, social able, silly and loving.  I can’t pass a dog without petting it or engaging in some other way.
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