link Faculty & Staff Success Stories

Faculty & Staff Success Stories

Success Stories Home Page 1 • Page 2 • Page 3 • Page 4 • Page 5  •  Page 6

 

Clint Poe

Clint Poe

Faculty, Astronomy & Physics

The last thing I wanted to do was become a teacher. There’s a quip that “Those who can, do and those who can’t, teach” so I carried that mentality with me all the way through my higher education. But ahem, here I am, 23 years later teaching another round of Astronomy and Physics courses and frankly feeling content with where I am now!

My childhood was steeped in a love and passion for science! There’s a photo of me as a toddler carrying a picture of the first monkey that the United States put into outer space. I would gaze at the starry skies and contemplate about the mysteries of the universe. But guess what? I HATED mathematics in elementary school. I didn’t understand why multiplication was needed and I was so worried that my dreams to become a scientist would be forever lost. Lucky for me, I discovered algebra and suddenly math turned into a much more enjoyable experience (go figure). 

But my first semesters in college were not impressive. I was young and immature and just didn’t give myself time to figure out how I deal with things and how I think. I applied to graduate school and initially did not get accepted due to a less than stellar GPA. However, once I did get to Vanderbilt University, I worked SO hard and discovered coffee. At this point, I felt my calling was definitely in the realm of research. I worked for NASA Ames to look at star formations. 

At what would become a pivotal point in my life, I found myself unemployed one day and at that time, an instructor at Mission unexpectedly died while teaching Astronomy. I was asked to be a substitute and out of financial necessity, I agreed. One semester of this emergency teaching turned into 23 years where my connections with students and helping them develop an appreciation for the sciences have kept me going! My advice to students: Keep going after your goals, whatever they may be, but don’t rule out unexpected or unusual opportunities that come your way!


Adrian Wise

Adrian Wise

Faculty, Political Science 

“I love school – but classes get in the way!” –Zack Morris (actor from Save by the Bell TV show in the 1990s). 

This was the sentiment I carried while in high school. I cared way more about who I would be taking to the Homecoming Dance or what team we would be playing on Friday night than I did my schoolwork. I did not have good study habits and I simply wanted to figure out the system well enough to coast by! I remember not being able to stand reading the “Canterbury Tales” (apologies to all English faculty out there) and tried to figure out *just enough* about its content to pass through my English class. 

But the day I moved into the college dormitories of San Francisco State University was the day when a huge revelation hit me. I recall vividly standing on the corner of Holloway Avenue and Font Boulevard with my entire family circling around me (my parents, my sister, my brother) and they were all crying. I realized being the first person in my family to attend college carried with it a huge responsibility and expectation for success. My dad looked at me very seriously in the eye and that Filipino cultural expectation – “I have a debt to them (family)” engulfed me. 

I recall heading back into my dorm and took out a notebook and wrote the words: “Don’t screw this up.” This high expectation set for me actually helped propel me to apply myself as a college student. I learned to be humble enough to search for guidance and to find and create a community that supported me. My advice for students is: You need to find the passion and be ready to ask yourself questions about what you want and what kind of future you desire to have.  From there, take initiative to talk to your teachers. If they see the hunger in you, they will respond with enthusiasm to your life story and give you more support in your journey.


Success Stories Home Page 1 • Page 2 • Page 3 • Page 4 • Page 5  •  Page 6