Q&A with Physics Teacher Susan Meador

Meet USN parent and Music Night co-chair Susan Meador, who is teaching AP Physics to High School students this semester.
This article originally appeared in the January edition of the High School student newspaper, The Peabody Press.

By Sarah Jacobs '21

While Mr. Hubbell, USN high school physics teacher, is away in New Zealand for the semester, high schoolers in AP physics get to learn from USN parent Dr. Susan Meador. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky before attending college at Transylvania University where she double majored in chemistry and computer science. After receiving a doctorate in chemistry at Vanderbilt, she worked at Boston University teaching and researching. Upon moving back to Nashville with her husband, she worked as a consultant in science education and had two children who now attend USN’s lower school. 

Q: What’s your favorite food?
A:  Okay, this is an interesting question because about four years ago, I became gluten-free, but my favorite foods are cinnamon rolls, soft pretzels, and sweet potatoes. So my sad life now, I can’t really have cinnamon rolls and soft pretzels. Sweet potatoes are still going strong. So if anyone knows somewhere that has (gluten-free) soft pretzel or cinnamon rolls … I would live there. 

Q: If your life was a movie, who would you pick to play your role?
A: Well, I feel like I would be a Sandra Bullock type: falls a lot but also is driven. 

Q: What inspires you?
A: It’s connecting with people, connecting with students, and connecting with friends that inspire me. 

Q: Do you have any memorable heroes or mentors?
A: Yes, when I was in high school, I had a chemistry teacher who I had both sophmore year and for AP chem, and he was amazing. He is what inspired me to get into chemistry and to know that I could do it. It was a long road, but he definitely inspired me. 

Q: What inspired you to want to teach? 
A: All of my family are teachers. My mom is a teacher, my dad is a teacher, my aunts and uncles are teachers, so in that sense, for me, it was like a real job. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Now, I did it in my own way because they didn’t teach chemistry. I just love the connection between a teacher and student, and I love seeing the student going from not understanding or not being confident to making the switch. Sometimes it’s quick, and sometimes it’s slower, but I love seeing that transformation. That’s inspiring to me, also. 

Q: What’s your favorite holiday? 
A: I would say it’s Thanksgiving because it’s all the good things of Christmas, like getting together and having fun with your friends and family without the pressure and craziness, so it’s the time for connection.

Q: What’s a hobby you think you’ll never give up?
A: Well, I hope yoga. I hope I will never give it up. I love it and I want it in my life forever, and I hope it keeps me sane throughout forevermore. 

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: As a female in science, I always felt like I had to prove something, like I had to come in and show people that I was smart. I had to prove that I was smart, and make them notice. And someone said it’s not about making others think you’re smart, it’s about doing your work and then it’s inherent in that. Just do the work. Stop worrying about that stuff. As a woman in science, I will say its a little bit harder than being a man in science. So that to me was like, yeah, just focus on the work and get it done, and then the proof lies inherent in that. 

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
A: Yes. My hidden talent is karaoke of one song only …

Sorry, that’s all for 8 and a half questions with Dr. Meador. If you want to know which song she jams out to, you are going to have to ask her in person.
    • AP Physics Teacher Susan Meador with her family, Murray, Ruby '28, and Clementine '31

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