Hands-on Bio-medical and Chemistry Teacher: Rashida Madraswala

Rashida was presented an honorary certificate for women in STEM by the office of Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel 

Rashida was presented an honorary certificate for women in STEM by the office of Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel 

After graduating with a molecular and cell biology degree from Northwestern University of Illinois, Rashida Madraswala, of the Los Angeles Dawoodi Bohra community began her career in a bio-medical laboratory as a research assistant. She was studying cellular biology and molecular techniques to better understand pathogens. Her work in the lab centered around the definitive study to help diagnose and trace the genetics of prostate cancer. A move to California and personal changes led to a change in career. She then went into teaching, utilizing her experience to become a bio-medical and chemistry teacher at award-winning El Camino High School in San Fernando Valley. 

Over a decade of teaching there, she has carved out a reputation as a sought-after teacher as her lessons deal with real-world scientific issues. She insists on genuine and credible inquiry when researching, not letting her students slide with opinion-based research when seeking knowledge of the natural world. For example, climate change is an absolute catastrophe and needs ethical and factual analysis. Her focus in that regard is on clean energy and conserving our natural resources. With this in mind, she assigns problem-solution projects for the students to undertake to gain a better understanding of their subject matter – not in a vacuum, but with real-world application in mind. Furthermore, Rashida enhances her lessons with frequent guest speakers and experts in their fields who share their experiences with her students, making their research more meaningful.

Rashida’s message to her students is simple: “Be aware of the world around you. Be mindful of its wonders and fragility, and do not be intimidated by assuming you, especially girls of color, have no place in science.” Rashida’s love for the natural world translated into a career where she inspires and shapes young minds to acquire this same love and continue to be mindful citizens of our world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *