By Aliscia Phillips
Mrs. Cassandra Bonvissuto, a recent addition to the Bio-Med Science Academy staff, currently teaches biomedical engineering to the juniors. Her passion for science started before she can remember and has stuck with her throughout her life. She explained how she likes the subject because of how broad it is and enjoys the freedom of being able to take it in whatever direction she pleases. She graduated from Ohio State University with a biology major but had previously attempted to major in mathematics. However, she found it hard to understand her professors so she switched to biology, thus beginning a career in a field she loves.
Before teaching, Mrs. Bonvissuto held jobs in research where she participated in several labs, ranging from studying multiple sclerosis to practicing flow cytometry (a technique used to characterize cells) to researching chemotherapeutic drugs. She held the position of a research associate which essentially made her the lab manager. She oversaw the lab, ensuring that good safety practice and the correct protocols were being carried out. She also had the opportunity to train people who participated in them.
The very last job she had before going into teaching was at Case Western Reserve University where she was testing potential chemotherapeutic drugs and various cancer cell lines. At the time, she was the only one working in the lab, which required her to be there every six hours and she had recently become a parent. Because of the time restraint it put on her, she decided that she needed to find a new job.
Mrs. Bonvissuto both enjoyed and was familiar with being in somewhat of an education role as a research associate, so it made sense that her next career would be in teaching. This allowed her to stick with a subject that she loved while also having enough time to take care of her child. She started at Poland Seminary High School where she taught various science-related classes. Eventually, she made the decision to leave because of disagreements she had, primarily with their lack of disciplinary action. She noticed that this wasn’t necessarily specific to just Poland Seminary, but to most typical public schools, which is ultimately what led her to decide to work at Bio-Med.
Bio-Med in particular provides a more collaborative, hands-on approach. Mrs. Bonvissuto gives the example of a student getting suspended. At Bio-Med an intervention of sorts is held in which the student has the opportunity to grow from the experience whereas, at another school, the student might get suspended for a few days and then return to class with no discussion of improvement. She says that her favorite part about Bio-Med so far is the community. Students at other schools don’t have the same opportunity to take part in cross-curricular activities that allow them to better build connections between subjects.
Outside of school, Mrs. Bonvissuto loves to spend time with her family. She has an eleven-year-old stepdaughter named Bella and a ten-year-old daughter named Hannah. She has been married to her husband, Greg, since leap year day of 2012. They have two pets: a rescue dog named Cassie and a cat named Samantha. Mrs. Bonvissuto also loves anything outdoors including snowboarding and rock climbing. She even enjoys playing Scrabble despite being an admittedly bad speller.
She hopes that from her class, students can learn and understand how to run their own investigation if they ever desire to do so and be able to apply that process to other subject areas. The ability to run an investigation assists in higher-level thinking and problem-solving skills that are applicable to all aspects of life, not just science labs. If you were to have her in a classroom for more than one period you’d quickly notice her motto: “Don’t suck at life.” Despite being fluent in sarcasm, Mrs. Bonvissuto genuinely believes that it’s healthy to be able to laugh at your own mistakes and try to improve from them. It’s impossible to be perfect, but you can always grow.