Adjunct Spotlight: Dr. Renhong Wang, Science EducationBy mst • Aug 8th, 2011 • Category: Lead Story, Science Education
Dr. Renhong Wang, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Science Education program, grew up in China and lived there until 1988. As a child in China he worked very hard as a student and really enjoyed school. Dr. Wang wanted to learn everything and even tried to finish the next semester’s coursework during the summer months. He was not only an academic as a young man but he was also interested in sports such as swimming and Ping-Pong. In high school, he was strong in all subjects but found his passion in both science and literature. His tendency towards literature was natural since his father was a journalist and magazine editor in China. It was through his father’s best friend, a columnist for an English newspaper and lawyer, that Dr. Wang learned English.
Just before Dr. Wang would have begun college, China’s Cultural Revolution began which prevented him from attending a university. During this time most people were forced to move to the countryside, this included Dr. Wang and his siblings. As he was quite ill, he was allowed to stay at home until he was recovered. This made him very sad with no hope to go to college – one thing he had desired since childhood. But he did not give up. He began to study English secretly because if discovered he would be punished severely and thought of as a traitor. These circumstances led him to sleep during the day and study at night. Since he was ill, people did not find it out of the ordinary for him to sleep all day. This pattern continued for 8 years! The Cultural Revolution was finally over and Dr. Wang began his college education at Shanghai Teachers University with a major in Chemistry. Since his extensive study of English, he was asked by professors to translate materials. The Chemistry Department knew they had a valuable asset in Dr. Wang so they asked him to continue on and teach Chemistry in English.
In 1988, he was invited to Columbia University’s Ophthalmology Department to work as a Research Associate and Lab Instructor in the Photobiology and Photochemistry Lab. After received M.A. and M. S from the Teachers College, Dr. Wang started to teach at George Washington High School in 1995. Encouraged by Dr. Anderson, Dr. Wang continued his education at Teachers College. He received his doctorate in 2008 and currently teaches Chemistry Concepts I and II at Teachers College along with his high school teaching at A. Philip Randolph High School. Dr. Wang also works as an Education Specialist at New York State Education Department on Regents Chemistry assessment. Along with his academic work, he is still very involved with exercise and yoga. Through all of his experiences and troubles growing up during a difficult time in China, Dr. Wang is a delightful man and a dedicated teacher.