Thank You, Teachers for Inspiring Us to Push the Limits

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I asked some of our employees to share stories about the teachers and classes that inspired them and helped to shape their futures. I was heartened to learn about the impact educators have had on so many of their lives.

Tim Pratt, a colleague here at Applied, is married to an educator and he reminded me that teachers not only provide a safe place to learn inside the classroom, they often dedicate more time and effort outside of the classroom – more so than we might ever know. Many teachers buy most of the classroom supplies for their students at their own expense. If a student forgets to bring a lunch or doesn’t eat breakfast, they often make sure they are fed. And while we may be envious of their summers breaks, teachers usually spend a lot of that time planning lessons, preparing their classrooms and developing themselves professionally for the next school year.  

Here are a few employee stories about the teachers who had a lasting impression on their personal and professional lives, their favorite school subjects growing up and the teachers that might be surprised by their chosen career paths.

Jennifer Sun | Principal Member of Technical Staff | California

My Science teacher inspired me with the notion that, just like the universe, one can explore far and deep, and still have a lot more to learn. This taught me to be humble and never stop learning. My teachers would be very proud that I work for one of the world’s leading technology companies that transforms our lives in this digital era!

Erika Hansen | Process Engineer | California

I had two inspirational and life-changing teachers in high school. One was my AP U.S. History teacher. History was NOT my subject in high school, but he had so much passion about the subject I couldn’t help but learn. He taught me so much about perseverance and the power of knowledge. The other one was my FOCUS (Finding Opportunities to Create Unity Through Service) teacher and leader. Through her, I gained my passion for service and the community. She was so inspirational to me and had such a big impact on so many people. I still actively participate in community service and other events to this day thanks to my wonderful and motivating teacher.


Pearl Tan | Public Relations |Taiwan

My favorite teacher in school was Professor Hsieh. She was my advisor when I went to graduate school for Journalism. She opened my eyes to the world of mass communications for science and inspired my interests in science and technology. I believe that is why I am so passionate today about science education programs to enrich our community.

Venkat Hariharan | Process Engineer | California

I have two favorite teachers: My English and Chemistry teachers. They both taught in a way that made me fall in love with the subjects and I always looked forward to their classes each day.  Thanks to my chemistry teacher, I developed an innate desire for chemistry throughout life.

Hadley Haselmann | Sales Account Manager | New York

My favorite teacher was Ms. Vora in 6th grade. She was always kind and passionate. She was from a small town in India, and taught me more things about the world, myself, and finding my purpose in life, than any teacher ever could. She made me the best student I could be because she taught me how to believe in myself. She would be surprised at my career choice because science and engineering were my least favorite subjects. I excelled more in art, entrepreneurship, humanities, language, and sociology. Eventually I figured out what I wanted to do in my life and I owe it all to her.  

Kumar Neeraj | New Product Manufacturing Engineer | India

My Sanskrit teacher, Mr. Tiwari always joked that I was hopeless and gave me the unique distinction of being: ‘Murkha Shiromani’ (Gem of Fools). He would probably be surprised to learn that I went on to study science and am now a mechanical engineer working at one of the most innovative companies in the world.

Debbie Lee | Public Relations | Taiwan

Ms. Schwartz, my second-grade teacher, taught me that kindness and curiosity lead to opportunity. In a classroom with a mere handful of international young students, Ms. Schwartz’s warm and empathetic teaching style transcended cultural differences. I credit Ms. Schwartz for igniting my interest in the English language and helping me think more expansively about the world.

Susan Tuvell and Benjamin Webb | Software Engineer and Mechanical Engineer | Massachusetts

Susan: My most memorable teacher was my high school math teacher from my junior year, Mr. Skehan. He encouraged me to push myself and take AP Calculus my senior year, even if it meant I might get a C, because he knew putting myself in a position to learn was more important than taking an ‘easier’ class for an A. I worked very hard and ended up getting not only an A, but a high score on the AP exam and later, a degree in mathematics. I loved math and still love solving problems and using the tools I have been taught to arrive at an answer, whether it’s right or wrong.

Ben: I don’t think any of my former teachers would be surprised to see me as an engineer now. As a high school student, I was very interested in engineering, and even joined the Young Engineer’s Club. That interest continued through my college career, and still drives me to learn more about engineering at Applied every day.

On behalf of Applied’s global workforce, a huge thank you to all the teachers and administrators around the world for inspiring the next generation of great thinkers!

I invite you to #ThankATeacher on Twitter and tag us @Applied4Good. To learn more about Applied’s education support year-round and other areas we’re passionate about, check out our Community page.

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