Tommy Baker Q&A: ‘I know every periodic table pun on the internet’
Beepods project manager and sales associate Tommy Baker has the formula for success in STEM fields. He began his career as a chemist and then moved into education teaching AP Chemistry and STEM Education classes. Tommy wrote an NEA-approved aquaponics curriculum for Milwaukee Public Schools and tutors students in math and science. Now he will be working with Beepods and STEMHero schools across the country.
Now for the Q&A…
Is it true that your former student started an aquaponics system using old plastic barrels?
Ha, yeah. She won a ton of science fairs that year. Her name was was Jasmin and she was one of my favorite students all time.
You did the fish thing so bees shouldn’t be too hard, right?
I hope not! However, thinking back, it was amazing how little I knew initially. I jumped right in and every fish and almost every plant died. On the other hand, over the last couple years I don’t think one of them died.
What other urban farming projects did you do?
At Milwaukee Marshall, we built raised gardens and sold the plants at farmers markets. I also bought fertilized chicken eggs from 7-Mile Fair, hatched them, and grew them to full size. Two of my students, Shoua and Lynnice, took care of them in our courtyard.
What happened to the chickens?
Shoua took them home over break and her mom cooked them.
Do urban farmers wear overalls?
More like Jordans and True Religion jeans.
What’s the funniest joke you know by heart?
I know every periodic table pun on the internet and 100 more.
If honey wasn’t called honey, what would it be called?
What’s your best podcast recommendation?
Ahh, Radio Lab.
What song hits you with a wave of nostalgia every time you hear it?
What’s your favorite B movie?
Akeelah and the Bee (I know wrong bee).
What’s your favorite smell?
The absence of smell in my car.
What holiday has been over-commercialized?
Valentine’s Day. It depresses too many people.
What habit do you wish you could start?
Out rapping my former students on SoundCloud.
What’s something you are obsessed with?
Distance running and I don’t run! I know all world records by heart and follow top runners on Instagram.
What trends did you follow when you were younger?
I saw the potential of SpongeBob during its first episode.
What’s the best Wi-Fi name you’ve seen?
What was something you ate regularly as a child but now cringe at the thought of eating?
Grass and dirt…wait just dirt.
Who are the three greatest scientists of all time?
J.J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford, and John Dalton.
Who would you most like to sit next to on a flight and why?
Someone really little who is mute.
How often do you help others?
Teachers help people all the time.
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