Douglas County High School teacher honored by former student
STANFORD, CA—Last week, Douglas County High School (DCHS) IB coordinator and teacher, Dr. Steven Fleet, was honored with an award by Stanford University. But it was something else that made the recognition even more special. He was being honored by his former student, Kara Fong.
Fong, who graduated from DCHS in 2012 and is now a senior and chemical engineering major at Stanford, honored Fleet as her most influential teacher who guided her in the formative stages of her academic career.
Fong received the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award, which is only presented to the top five percent of each year’s undergraduate senior engineering class. As part of this achievement, Terman scholars attend a celebratory luncheon and are given an opportunity to honor their most influential teachers of their pre-college schooling.
"The skills I learned through Dr. Fleet precisely coincide with the mindsets that I find most useful in my research as a chemical engineer—embracing uncertainty, having the confidence to tackle difficult problems and simply loving learning,” Fong said. “Thank you, Dr. Fleet for asking unanswerable questions, encouraging crazy ideas, and genuinely believing in me."
“Kara's genuine dedication to learning, her sense of humor and her commitment to others continue to define her,” Fleet said. “She repeatedly spoke about her International Baccalaureate education as essential in helping her see how artificially we separate the disciplines. I found it fascinating that among the teachers honored at a Stanford engineering ceremony, half taught humanities. Critical thinking and creative problem solving emerge from the high school experience, not from any particular discipline. Kara sincerely thanks all of her teachers for the perspectives and confidence they gave her. I was lucky enough to attend the Terman ceremony on behalf of the dedication that defines all of the teachers in Douglas County.”
"Kara is one of the very finest Stanford students that I have ever met,” said Fong’s Stanford advisor, Thomas Francisco Jaramillo. “She is an extraordinary person, one who in addition to her remarkable intelligence also happens to be one of the most gracious, kind, generous people that I have known. Kara Fong embodies the finest qualities that we hope to see in our students, in our alums and in the future leaders of tomorrow."
Fong is one of just 15 students in the nation to be awarded the Churchill Scholarship, which will enable her to pursue a master’s degree in material sciences and metallurgy at Cambridge University next year.