Interview with Mr. Clark

Mr. Clark was born in China and raised by his grandparents between the ages of 2 and 8 because his parents came to America when he was only 2 years old. When Mr. Clark finally came to America, he got the chance to choose his own name, and he chose the name Clark because he was a fan of Superman comics (Clark Kent is Superman’s normal identity).

What is he interested in STEM?

Mr. Clark always knew that he wanted to be a scientist. He had an interest in science from an early age because his grandfather read scientific papers to him as a child. He appreciates the potential for science to advance human knowledge and the potential for scientific applications to improve human welfare.

What was his journey with STEM? 

Mr. Clark actually began college as an economics major, specifically interested in politics and the federal reserve. He still holds his belief that the social sciences are equally important as more traditional sciences. However, he later became a biology major because he felt that it had a more direct and definitive impact than economics. While still in undergrad, he did biophysics and biochemistry research at John Hunt’s lab at Columbia, his alma mater. 

Mr. Clark went to medical school because he was passionate about medical science and thought medicine would give me a good opportunity to combine his passion for science with his interest in building caring relationships with people. When interacting with patients, his appreciation for the human side of science grew. He realized that it was important to be able to communicate with ordinary people and explain the relevance of scientific work. But, medical school had its ups and downs; “When I did my rotations during medical school, I found that in clinics I would see the patients every six months or so and it wasn’t frequent enough for me. In the hospital, I would see patients every day, but they were usually very sick. After a while, the work wore me down,” he says. Mr. Clark turned to teaching because it was a better combination of science and relationship-building. 

Why did Mr. Clark choose to teach?

Mr. Clark likes getting to know students; “I like seeing everyone and the unique gifts they bring,” he says. He also cherishes the brilliant moments of students, fondly recalling how a student rapped about science on the second day of class or how his students found a really clever way to separate sawdust from sand. He started teaching in 2015. 

What does he like to do in his free time?

Mr. Clark is a fan of short stories, improv theater, and singing (be it classical, pop, or broadway).

What is his favorite food?

“Grilled salmon. I remember a delicious meal of salmon marinated in lemon juice and grilled on a cedar plank!” he says.