Uncharted Territory

James Dominic Chye, Ph.D.
Adjunct Faculty, Science Department

Let me tell you about a student of astronomy that I will refer to as Dark Star. Dark Star came into the class knowing more than most about the subject matter and immediately had a powerful influence on the directions of discussion. Here was one of the students that could have likely tested through my course without my help. Dark Star is a type of student that I love to have in the mix, someone that the other students can model that is their peer and someone that will challenge me to grow as an instructor.

Often times one must be careful of a desire for things to be artificially simple and uniform. It is my experience that society, like the physical universe, is made richer by the diversity that it contains. Still, all that variation can make understanding more of a challenge. I choose to believe that the effort is worth it. It is the best way I am currently aware of to generate the world I desire for all of us.

Dark Star has mentioned to the class that being different from the rest of the cluster is a glaring and constant weight. I hope that Dark Star sees more inclusion in class as I try to confront topics related to Dark Matter. It is my aim for all the Stars under my tutelage to see how we have one shared planet, one shared reality, and one shared experience filled with both differences and commonalities.

Day to day, Dark Star learns about planets, stars, and galaxies in my class. The math, physics, and logic learned will be powerful tools in improving Dark Star’s and other students’ lives and careers. Even then, the perspective of the fragility and interconnectedness of our collective history and future on this world, in this universe, is essential to building the most prosperous and fulfilling community possible.

Here I will reveal what I have been only eluding to all along. As much as I try to do so, it is difficult to know how to offer equal and fair treatment to all students, but it is an important goal worthy of the struggle to attain it. If I am going to facilitate lifelong learning in others, it stands to reason that I must model the behavior myself. I would like to thank Dark Star for the opportunity to both learn from and teach this exceptional student. Dark Star will be successful at future endeavors that are a focus such a capable mind, particularly if we continue to craft the society where the rules and the reality let Dark Star shine freely.