First Impressions

Some new teaching and administrative faculty share thoughts of their first term. 

February 8, 2022
New Exeter faculty


“The first term could have been stressful and overwhelming, but my experience was a combination of fun and challenge. I would not have been able to have [that experience] without the continuous support from my mentor and the rest of the biology team. I enjoyed the Harkness discussions and the amount of life and energy my students brought with them every day. Harkness discussion is not only the backbone of Philips Exeter’s learning system, but it also encourages [students] to think critically and articulate their thoughts, as well as respect and listen to opinions different from their own.”
Shimaa Ghazal, instructor in science


“Before working at Exeter, idea generation for events, programming or initiatives seemed limited to dialogues in formal settings. My time here has taught me that most often casual conversations provide the moments for creative, meaningful and worthwhile creativity. Whether I am getting a haircut at the Hair Emporium or hanging out in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, I know my colleagues will provide a space for both intellectual rigor and care.”
Kevin Pajaro-Mariñez, assistant director of equity and inclusion



“I was welcomed with open arms by the girls soccer team and staff. My colleagues in the Physical Education and Athletics Department have gone out of their way to make sure I am mentored in all aspects of the role. The immediate sense of community has been a blessing for my family.”

 — Kerry McBrearty, instructor in physical education



“My first term at Exeter has been enlightening. One student asked me how to get detergent out of his sweats. It wasn’t detergent; his clothes bled onto each other in the wash. I didn’t think I would be giving laundry advice here. I have surprisingly enjoyed my time living in a boys dorm with young men who are respectful, kind and responsible.” 
Christina Zeigler, instructor in science


Matt Callahan“In returning to Exeter, I’ve been so impressed with the students at PEA: their sincerity, kindness and brilliance inspire my work on a daily basis.”
Matt Callahan ’09, assistant director of admissions 




“I’ve been exploring the campus trails with my dog since the summer. After the autumn peak dried the leaves there has still been plenty of color, especially rose gold. Everyone I encounter is mindful and acknowledging of others.”
Susan Park, instructor in science 





Editor's note: This article first appeared in the winter 2022 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.