PHS Profile: Ruchi Mital

photo by Alan Gu

When Ruchi Mital cooked with her mother as a child, she knew there was something going on beneath the surface. Starting at a young age, Mital had an intellectual curiosity as to why certain ingredients combined and reacted in certain ways to form the taste of food.

“My biggest [habit] was [melting] sugar, and then I would want to add salt and nothing would happen. The first thing I felt [was] why is this happening? I wanted to dig into every food item and find the chemical in it that I was tasting,” said Mital.

During her adolescence, Mital had the opportunity to choose a science course at school and picked chemistry. The course eventually fostered her interest in the subject matter, and as a result, Mital later went on to study Organic Chemistry in college.

Although Mital had an interest in chemistry, but she did not know what type of career she would have with her educational background. Mital spent six months working in the industrial sector but didn’t find it fulfilling.

When Mital moved to the United States from India in 1999, she couldn’t work for six years because she was still waiting for her green card. This caused Mital to volunteer at her children’s schools and she became interested in teaching as she really enjoyed working with the other students there.

Currently, Mital teaches both Chemistry I and Accelerated Chemistry courses. Through both of these classes, Mital believes she can allow her students to have a better understanding the environment around them.

“Even if you are not taking Chemistry further, you will have a better understanding if someone is talking about the real life issues that are becoming more and more prominent in everything that is going on with our environment. You are able to make a more educated decision for yourself as an adult,” Mital said.

In her spare time, Mital still enjoys cooking, which she finds very therapeutic. She is also fond of watching movies and loves spending time with her children.

Mital taught at numerous schools before coming to PHS, but she finds that PHS students tend to have more background knowledge of a subject and the way they apply their knowledge is different from what she has seen at other schools.

“I feel like I am just a facilitator. I have to just give [students] a little information, and they can build mountains out of that information. If I am able to get to their curiosity and get them to enjoy the course and take it in the future … [then I have fulfilled] my goal.”

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