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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Belk Knows Bio

Meet Ms. Gillian Belk, the newest addition to the Bishop’s biology department
Leila Feldman
Ms. Gillian Belk loves to think about ways that her teaching can apply to everyday life. For example, for a recent homework assignments students had to think critically about products in their pantry that were labelled as “gluten-free” and whether there was even gluten in the product to begin with!

Ms. Gillian Belk returns to the Bishop’s Biology department after being a long-term substitute at the end of last year. She comes to Bishop’s from a background of working labs and on cell biology in the Bay Area. Ms. Belk is a San Diego native and a University of California, San Diego (UCSD) alumnae. But most importantly, the way to become Ms. Belk’s favorite student is buying her stuffed toys in the shape of a: virus, cell, or disease!

Q. Why did you choose to study bio?

A. I’ve always liked [biology]. When I was a kid I was always obsessed with animals, it’s just always something I found myself gravitating towards — learning about biology. Biology explains the why of the world. I liked that bio was a little chaotic and there’s so much to it — the more you look into it the more you realize you know nothing. You get an appreciation for how beautiful the world is.

Q.Did you know you always wanted to be a teacher or was there some other way you decided to start teaching?

A. After graduating high school I wanted to do bio but had no idea what I wanted to do with it. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want to go into medicine. That was the extent of my plan. [But] I got into teaching because I hated living in the Bay Area and moved back to San Diego. It’s funny how life works out because I would have never imagined I would come back to teach high school. 

When COVID hit, my last company was all remote — unless it was lab work — and it was all camera off and microphone muted. The beautiful thing about teaching is the fact that you get to work with people all day! It’s really fun in that regard. As much as I loved lab work, I missed interacting with humans.

Q. What else do you like to do outside of teaching?

A. I think what’s really special is that after being gone for three and a half years is being close to my friends and family. I have a really close group of friends from college and we have little book clubs. I also love local comedy. San Diego has so much to offer if you know where to go.

Q. What do you hope to implement this year?

A. I really want my students to do well. A challenge I have for myself is I know how much it sucks to have someone lecture at me. The question is how do you pack as much info as AP Bio[logy] but still have time to learn the material not just through lecture — how do you include fun activities and not just lecture at people. That’s challenging but I think it’s important. Also, I want to make sure my class is getting the same level of information as [the other Biology classes.] Dr. [Lani] Keller has been great and I sit in on her classes and make sure my classes are getting the same information. Both Dr. Keller and Mr. [Benjamin] Duehr have been amazing. I call them my arm floaties. They are holding me up — they are one of the best parts of the job.

Q. Do you have any advice for highschool students?

A. I think there’s so much pressure in high school to figure out what you want to do with your life but it’s just the next step. It’s ok if you haven’t figured it out or figur e it out and completely change your mind. Life will happen. Roll with the punches. Relax a little bit. 


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About the Contributor
Leila Feldman
Leila Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
This is Leila’s fourth year on the staff and her second as Editor-In-Chief. Leila loves The Tower as much as she loves field hockey, peach Snapple, the newest trend, mango vitamin water, her dog, Better Buzz coffee, and Sweetfin Poke. When Leila isn’t writing for The Tower, stressing out over her next test, or playing field hockey she enjoys watching the Chargers with her dad on Sundays, reading, and going shopping with her sister. She primarily writes about sports and the world around us and never is afraid to share her ideas with the staff or the publication. With her second year as Editor-In-Chief, she hopes to have more guest writers and conversations surrounding The Tower than ever.  

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