List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • My primary roles at Thacher

    Science Department Chair, AP and Honors Chemistry teacher, advisor of sophomore girls in Middle School.
  • What my students call me

    Doc V.
  • Favorite job perks

    In no particular order: the view of the Valley from the Outdoor Chapel, annual fall backpacking trips to Yosemite, sunny SoCal weather, a two-minute commute to the office, salads for lunch, steak and eggs for brunch on the weekends, smart and committed colleagues, motivated and kind students…I could go on and on.
  • I knew I wanted to work at Thacher when

    About an hour after I arrived on campus to interview. I had just finished meeting with everyone in the Science Department, and I thought to myself, “These are the people I want to work with, and this is the place where I want to live.”
  • Favorite Thacher teaching moments

    Those when its a larger life lesson and not just a chemistry lesson.
  • Since you asked me to brag, here are the professional accomplishments I'm most proud of

    Probably at the top of the list is reclaiming the Observatory for astronomy and playing a role in bringing Jon Swift on board to run it and help build our program and then discovering that the school has a rich history of education and research in astronomy that dates back to correspondence in 1906 between Sherman Day Thacher and George Ellery Hale, Director of the Mt. Wilson Observatory at the time. A close second is working with my science colleagues to brainstorm and implement the Science and Society Seminar class. Beyond that, I’d have to say the general increase in breadth and depth of the science program, the increase in enrollments, and the success of our science students in my time here. 
  • When not in the classroom I can be found

    In Michigan, flying a kite, walking on the beach, jogging on a quiet, dirt road, or duffing an iron shot.
  • Hardly anybody knows that

    I’m a 20-goal-scoring left wing in my dreams at night.
  • Favorite place at Thacher

    The Outdoor Chapel at sunrise, my lab during the day, my back porch at sunset, the Observatory at night.

  • Favorite place in my imagination

    The 11th tee at Bahle Farms in Sutton’s Bay, Michigan.
  • Favorite places on earth

    Vogelsang Peak & Boothe Lake in Yosemite, Italy (all of it), the 11th tee at Bahle Farms in Sutton’s Bay, Michigan.
  • The book, movie, work of art, or piece of music I cannot imagine life without

    Miles Davis & Gil Evans: Sketches of Spain.
  • What I wanted to be when I grew up (when I was 10)

    A wide receiver for Notre Dame.
  • What I want to be when I grow up (now)

    Happy and healthy.