Becoming a biology and forensics teacher was not Alexis Custer’s initial career plan. Her parents, in scientific professions themselves, encouraged her to become a biology major; however, Custer remained undecided about her career path until attending college.
After graduating from North Penn High School in Pennsylvania, Custer attended Temple University, where she studied biology. It was not until her biology professor advocated for her to take graduate classes in education that Custer began to consider a teaching profession.
“He said, ‘You know, you’re really good at slowing down and explaining a lot of different things,’ [and so] I took an education class each semester and kind of just fell into it,” said Custer.
After graduating from college, Custer began to teach in schools throughout south and northeast Philadelphia. After six years in Philadelphia, Custer moved to Princeton where she began teaching at PHS.
Custer finds teaching at PHS to be very rewarding.
“The students at PHS are such a diverse and dynamic group,” Custer said. “Young adults have so many passions and you get to see that come out, especially during lab classes and during electives, when you get to know the students and what their interests are.”
As a teacher, Custer strives to provide real-life situations in a classroom setting. Custer currently collaborates with scientists in Antarctica through a program at Rutgers University. Her students receive their data and work with the scientists throughout the school year. The combined effort culminates toward the end of the year, as her students have the opportunity to present at a Rutgers symposium to the scientists themselves.
“I think that collaborative experience with Rutgers has not only been beneficial for me, but for the students, so that they can see that science doesn’t only happen in a lab,” Custer said. “Everybody’s a scientist. Since it’s live data, it’s more tangible to them.”
Outside of school, Custer has enjoyed running with friends ever since high school. She looks forward to catching up on her reading during the summer, and loves hanging out with friends and family as well as skiing with her husband.
Based off of her own experiences, Custer believes that the most important thing for PHS students to remember is to persevere through challenges.
“If you work hard at anything, you can ultimately achieve your goals in the end,” said Custer. “I have experienced that with running, graduate school, [and] with teaching. I think if you just keep trying to better yourself, then you’re going to succeed.”