New chemistry, physics teacher enjoys travel

Maeve Taylor
Contributing Writer

Mary Landsness, physics and chemistry teacher, assists some of her fifth hour conceptual chemistry students in a lab. Photo by Maeve Taylor

New chemistry and physics teacher Mary Landsness has a myriad of diverse passions. From hiking mountains in Alaska, where she hails from, to biking the coasts of Ireland, to teaching physics and chemistry, she enjoys it all.

Landsness is not new to the district but is new to her position and is already well liked.

Her peers, like department head Joe Boeckman and forensic science teacher Jeanette Hencken describe her as passionate about what she’s teaching and very open to sharing ideas and listening to others’ ideas.

One of her favorite things about teaching is seeing her students reactions when they understand something, like the “atoms and small things that we can’t see…. it is rewarding to help them understand things they can’t see,”  Landsness said.  She also cites this fact as to why chemistry is the favorite out of what she teaches.

Landsness also sees this with her children. Before the eclipse, she explained to her six year old how it works and the other basics of the eclipse, which incited more questions, about lunar eclipses and the sun.

Another thought Landsness has about science is this: “When you are learning new concepts and can apply them to things you see everyday, that is what is exciting about science.”

Outside of teaching, Landsness loves to travel and experience new places, especially when she is able to include outdoor activities. She has been to six out of the seven continents (still waiting on Antarctica), and still hasn’t had enough of it. Her favorites are varied, one being Ireland, which she biked with her husband years ago. She especially liked the biking because it is slower than a car, and one gets to see more, which adds to the experience.  

Landsness also loves visiting her brother and his family, who live in a small, rural village in the Republic of the Gambia, simply because it is definitely a different experience to the typical one in the United States or other similar places in the world.  One thing she would like to see more of is ruins, like the ones she backpacked in at Machu Picchu, because of the age of them.

Landsness didn’t really get to experience that ancient feeling where she is from, in Anchorage, AK, because it wasn’t formally settled until later.


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