Jo Priest, Science Teacher & Nature Lover

What is your role at Santa Maria?

I am a Science teacher, with a focus on biological sciences. I am also currently coordinator of the service group, Eco Sisters.

How long have you worked at the College?

I’ve been at Santa Maria for 12 years.

What do you enjoy most about your role at Santa Maria?

The opportunity to educate young people about the wonders of the natural world through developing their curiosity and knowledge so they will be inspired to learn and care for the environment and to think critically about the world around them.   

What brought you to this role?

My background is teaching Biological Sciences in a range of schools including the Education Department and independent schools. I have also worked as an Education Officer in the Health Department in the area of hereditary disease. In this role, I was able to apply the skills I developed as an educator to a broad, community-based education program.

You have an interest in the environment and STEM, tell us a bit about your interest in these areas.

My passion has always been biology. I grew up in the Northwest, where as kids, we spent all our time exploring the bush, camping, birdwatching, roaming the mud flats and fishing in the mangroves. Harry Butler was my favourite naturalist on TV, followed by the inspirational David Attenborough. In my early years of teaching, I was fortunate to attend lectures by Professor Peter Klinken AC, WA Chief Scientist, who was educating teachers in the field of biotechnology. This field of biological science has been inspiring to me and has been paving the way forward in medical research ever since. 

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My favourite past time is to be off camping in the bush, preferably in spinifex country, surrounded by red dirt, my family and my camera. I love to photograph the landscape and plants and have time to watch and listen.

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