Brian Corbett's plans to become an orthodontist changed when he took analytical chemistry with Professor Mary Kate Donais. He loved the course so much, he decided to get a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Rhode Island and become a college teacher. While teaching on the college level, though, he was disappointed by the level of preparation he saw in his students. So he decided to teach high school instead.
Corbett teaches at an international baccalaureate school in South Carolina, where he also coaches baseball and helps out with dramatic productions. One of the ways he reaches students and sparks their passion about chemistry is by talking about food.
"The science behind cooking techniques has to do with energy transfer," he says. "Food is something we all have in common. It's a universal interest. When we separate a homogeneous mixture into curds and whey to make ricotta cheese, or talk about how the density of an egg changes as it gets older, it's an opportunity to teach them something they understand."
Corbett is thrilled to teach people who have the potential to go on to graduate school and do "amazing things." He was recognized by the Western Carolinas Section of the American Chemical Society for his inspiring work.