Science & Engineering Teacher
Never mind that she is an experienced Chemical Engineer and holds pharmaceutical patents that helped Eli Lilly and Company launch new diabetes care products. For Heritage Science and Engineering teacher Lisa Foster, there’s no place she’d rather be today than her high school classroom.
One of her primary responsibilities, she says, is to get kids thinking deeply and critically about her subjects. “I don’t know how you can separate God from science,” she explains. So she presents the evidence and asks probing questions to encourage students to think about the material from a biblical worldview. “I want them to have the facts and to see that perfect order doesn’t just happen.”
Foster’s conviction and approach partially stem from her own journey to her faith in Christ. As an engineering honors student, she began to doubt some of the information presented in her science textbooks. It just didn’t add up. At her roommate’s invitation, Foster began to attend church. As she learned about God the Creator, she found the answers to her questions and accepted Christ into her life.
After a successful 10-year chemical engineering career and time at home with her young children, Foster returned to college and earned her teaching certificate. She taught in several public schools before God opened the door to teach at Heritage. In 2013, Foster pioneered the school’s engineering program and began teaching chemistry and physics full-time. With a grant from the Mayor's office, she also helped to launch the school's Robotics club. “Here,” she says, “I have a chance to make a difference.”
Before the school year begins, Foster prays for each one of her students by name. She frequently attends their fine arts and athletic events to support and build relationships with them. One of Foster’s classroom bulletin boards is a dedicated collage of student “selfies.” She affectionately calls them “family pictures.”
Foster works hard to make scientific learning interesting and fun. But more than anything, she hopes that her students understand that God can do amazing things in their lives. “I want them to know,” she concludes, “that God can do things that you never thought possible.”
Foster sought out and helped to implement many of the high school’s STEM-focused options for students. She teaches Exploring Engineering and facilitates an online Engineering Roots elective class, as well as high school chemistry and Honors Physics. Guest speakers frequent her classes, out of Foster’s desire to expose students to as many potential STEM career options as possible.
Foster seized an opportunity to get Heritage students involved with Purdue University’s M-STEM3 (Motorsports STEM for Manufacturing and Medicine) High School Go Karting Series. Similar to the International Collegiate GrandPrix, the high school program puts academic and racing skills to the test for students. Heritage student response was overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s another avenue for our students to be curious, to problem solve and see things in 3D,” Foster explains. “It’s something with a real-world application.”