Dr. Kenneth Lee stood in front of room 305 with his hand extended, ready to greet the new students on his very first day at East.
His resume covered four years of grad school at Johns Hopkins, nine years of research at the Stowers Institute and one semester student teaching. It didn’t include training courses on how to learn 140 names or deal with 140 different personalities.
Within a couple of days, all the names were learned, all the personalities were sorted out and the handshakes became inside jokes.
But, halfway through the year, Dr. Lee found out the head of the Biotech program at Shawnee Mission’s Center for Academic Achievement was retiring. After student teaching for her, he expected to apply for her job once she was done — but he wasn’t expecting the phone call to happen halfway through his first year. He made the decision to apply and was hired as the new head of the Biotech program beginning in fall of 2019.
“I really thought I would be at East for a few years and get to know more about teaching,” Lee said. “The chance to get to teach over there was sort of impossible for me to turn down. It checked all my boxes for what I was good at.”
Four of his hours in the school day at East were spent with freshmen teaching honors and regular Biology. The other two hours he spent teaching were dedicated to sophomores and upperclassman in the Exploring Medical Careers class.
With an enrollment number of 12 in the first semester of EMC, smaller group activities like potato surgery or interview practice were common occurrences, which Dr. Lee enjoyed. He liked the one-on-one time.
“Dr. Lee is a role model and influencer in the eyes of all his students,” sophomore Morghan Golloher said. “We learned a variety of different course material [in Exploring Medical Careers] from interviewing 101 to medical terminology and shadowing. Dr. Lee was always willing to talk about subject matter that we were interested in.”
Saying goodbye to the students at East was the hardest part of his decision, but he plans on visiting often and is sure he will show up at graduations to support the kids he’s become close with.
While teaching at the CAA, Dr. Lee will work even closer with students, such as Golloher, while they advance their medical studies in the Biotech program.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Lee will do an amazing job teaching biotechnology,” Golloher said. “He has an amazing ability to connect with his students and helping them strive for greatness. I can see how truly excited he is for this amazing opportunity and I know he’s going to make the most of it. I can’t wait to be his student again in the fall.”