'My Hands Used to Pick Weeds; Now They Perform Brain Surgery'--Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

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"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." ~~Mark van Doren

The chemical structures danced across the page as I sat trying to figure out what reaction came next. It was the beginning of organic chemistry as an undergraduate and people had warned me that o-chem would be a bit of a monster. Over that previous summer I had heard countless horror stories about how hard organic chemistry can be. As a biology/ pre-med major I had no other choice but to endure this course. Yet by the second month of class I enthusiastically soaked up the varied drawings, rapidly mastered the new reactions and loved the challenge mainly because my professor had made the subject come alive to me and invested countless hours into his students.

During one of our first lessons he explained his office hours: he had none. Not meaning that we could never ask him any questions, but if the door was open and he was in there we could stop in and ask questions to our heart's content. Many an hour he spent in his office fielding the hundreds of questions that his students threw at him. I believe it was both his willingness to invest in us as students as well as his ability to ignite an excitement for chemistry that changed my path from bio-pre med. By second semester I was a Chemistry major and had discovered a few teaching skills of my own as well as a heart for eduction. I feel quite fortunate that I was surrounded by great teachers in college, many of them influenced much of the path I find myself on today. Truly: "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. " ~~Henry Adams.

Meet Nifty Fifty speaker Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Brain Surgeon and Researcher at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His shares a little bit of his inspirational story of how he went from migrant worker to neurosurgeon in the video below. His story is one of perseverance and dedication for a better way of life as well as the magnitude of influence a few dedicated math and science teachers at San Joaquin Delta College (a community college) had on his life. He credits his success to their investment into him as a student, " "Honestly, there is no question, I would not be where I am today without San Joaquin Delta College." Read more about him on our Nifty Fifty website .

The 'Nifty Fifty' are a group of noted professionals who will fan out across the Washington, DC area next October to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Are you a Festival Partner Organization? Then nominate a 'Nifty Fifty' speaker! Find out more about how to nominate a speaker here.

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The quotes on teaching added throughout the article were truly a great addition to this inspirational story. I canât even begin to imagine what it would be like to work in the fields. To get out of that situation should be an inspiration to the American population. What I love is the relationship that Dr. Quiñornes had with his professor. I have had teachers that truly care about his or her students, and that is always where the most learning takes place. Teachers have the power to shape the future of the world with their influence over their students, and the more teachers we have like mentioned in the article, the better place the world will be.

By Zach Hamer (not verified) on 24 Oct 2010 #permalink

the quotes in this post are touching hearts like "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. " ~~Henry Adams he said that i am watching me in today that's a cool and very mature thought of Dr Henry. I am really grateful to admin for posting such a nice thoughts and it's also a inspirational for other students and teachers.