After working in a hospital and teaching at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), health science teacher Jennifer Callahan has now moved her expertise to the Academy at Chantilly. Although working at the Academy is completely different from working in a hospital, Callahan has adjusted without trouble.
How did you get interested in medical professions?
When I was younger, I used to babysit a lot, and one of my kids had cystic fibrosis. I used to help with his chest therapy and give him enzymes. It was this exposure that got me interested in the health [professions]; then when I went to college I went into nursing.
How did you decide to teach high schoolers?
I wasn’t really looking [to teach anywhere], but a friend had told me about Chantilly. At that time it sounded like a fun job. I’d been in touch with her, and I said, “Hey, if [any position] opens, let me know.” Then in February, she said someone was retiring, so that’s how it came about. [Teaching] just sounded like a nice change.
What did you do before teaching at Chantilly?
My last job was at Fairfax Hospital where I was a patient navigator. I also taught at NOVA. I taught in the lab where the students came to practice their lab skills.
Do you have any nice memories from working in the hospital?
I remember this one group of students I had that was working on labor and delivery, and they were an awesome group that worked together so well. They had a study group, helped me and encouraged each other, which was really nice since nursing schools can be kind of cutthroat. [In nursing programs], teachers are just trying to weed out who they don’t feel should belong there, but [this group of students] were all supporting each other, and that’s what you need in the hospital setting.
What hobbies do you have?
I like to exercise, hike with my dog and go to the beach.