Shawn Cole-Woods


I’m gay and I’m a physics educator and molecular sciences and nanotechnology PhD candidate. //

I completed my undergraduate studies in physics and mathematics (pre-med), as planned when I finished high school. My intention was to become a pediatrician/OBGYN, although my path changed when I fell in love with computational engineering (biology- and chemistry-based), because it gave me an opportunity, as an at-my-core artist, to create pretty pictures using science. I completed a 5-year-long study on ligand-independent and -dependent therapy for estrogenic cancers, blending time between my undergrad and graduate studies. Currently, I’m a PhD candidate in molecular sciences and nanotechnology studying catalyst design and engineering for enhanced proton exchange membrane fuel cell performance. Since 2006, though, I found my passion in education, transitioning from being a physics tutor to educator and research coach in K-though-college classrooms. The taboo of the science fuels me. I find fulfillment in interrogating life with my students through the languages and lenses of math and science. Every day, I challenge myself to hold a space for my students to explore safely, collaboratively, and dynamically while drawing connections that are relative to their life. After all, what’s learning if we can’t find ourselves in it?