First Grade Meets Real-Life Changemakers: Part I

On January 20, First Grade teachers Jared Hubbard and Catherine Yoon kicked off a two-part series featuring change-making Lower School parents!
Infectious diseases doctor, researcher, and educator Dr. Debika Bhattacharya (Ayan P.’s mom); Department of Water and Power Commissioner, Nicole Neeman-Brady (Theo B.'s mom); and Financial Cybersecurity Expert Cora Quon (Ethan Q.’s mom) all shared with our students how their childhood passions blossomed over time and lead them to the exciting careers they have now. Each panelist was asked to answer the following questions:

  1. What is your name and what do you do?
  2. What were your interests/passions as a kid?
  3. How have you been able to use your passion/ talents to do something meaningful/make a difference in the world?
  4. What is one challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
  5. What is one fun fact about your job?

During Dr. Bhattacharya’s presentation, she shared with students that from an early age she developed a passion for reading, investigating, Justice League superheroes, and acting. As an adult, all of those passions have largely influenced her motivation to not only research and understand infectious diseases but also better understand how they affect communities differently. She also shared that her love for acting has resulted in her love to speak and educate others about her findings.

During Ms. Neeman-Brady’s presentation, she shared that she has always had a passion for math, and encouraged students to embrace math because it essential to much of what we do in everyday life. Ms. Neeman-Brady walked students through the work she does with the Department of Water and Power, and even shared some amazing safety tips on what to do when you encounter power lines in your community!

Finally, during Ms. Quon’s presentation, she educated our students on what a bank is and how cybersecurity is essential to keeping banks (and their customers) safe. She presented her work in such a clever and age-appropriate way by creating an exercise that correlated sensitive personal information to special jewels hidden in a castle, the kids had loads of fun with this one!

Following their thoughtful and engaging presentations, students had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions, and as you can imagine, there were quite a few endearing and hilarious moments captured. Read below for some highlighted excerpts.

How long have you been in your jobs?
Dr. Bhattacharya: 20 years
Ms. Neeman-Brady: 20 years
Ms. Quon: 11 years in cybersecurity, 20 years total as a professional.

Do you have any other jobs aside from what you shared with us today?
Ms. Neeman-Brady: Yes, I do have other jobs. I am on the Board for the L.A. Public Library where I help make sure we get books in the library...but another job I have is being a mommy to Theo and his brother and sister and that is by far my favorite job!
Dr. Bhattacharya: Yes, I have two other favorite jobs. The first is to be mommy, like Ms. Neeman-Brady also said, the best part of my day is when I get to snuggle with them! And another job I have is that I get to sit on an advisory panel where we get to decide the best treatments and the best ways to treat some infections...and the work that I do is to help people get the treatments that they need.

What was your favorite food and dessert when you were a kid?
Dr. Bhattacharya: My favorite food is a dish from India called “posto,” which is a curry made out of seeds and potatoes, and my favorite dessert is anything with chocolate!

(for Ms. Quon) Has anyone been able to get the information you’re trying to keep a secret?
Ms. Quon: No, thankfully we’ve been able to prevent that from happening!

(for Ms. Quon) Does anyone else in your family know the codes that you know?
Ms. Quon: No, I never ever share that information with anyone!

Ha, we all got a kick out of that last question!
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