For the past seven years, Garrett Hall has inspired many students at SEP through chemistry and biology. He lives life to the fullest, in and out of class.
When he was in grade school, Hall, who grew up outside of Chicago, had his sites set on becoming an electrical engineer.
“I had kits to make stuff — lasers and electronic things. In fourth grade, I typed up all the classes I would need to take in high school. In my junior year, my algebra II teacher said that none of us were good enough. That killed it.”
Hall knew he had to be passionate about what he wanted to do in college, and his mind shifted.
“I decided on business,” he says. “I remember sitting in an (economics) class my freshman year thinking, ‘Uh, this is so boring!’ I did not see myself sitting at a desk all day.”
Hall’s parents thought their son had a natural teaching ability, so he started taking biology and education courses and never looked back. He had found his niche.
Before graduating from ISU, Hall researched coral reefs in Roatan, Honduras, and he earned an open water certification for scuba diving. It was an eye-opening experience.
“In Honduras, we did a night dive,” Hall recalls. “We saw fish that put a bubble around them to prevent other fish from smelling them. And then the octopus would change colors as it passed over the coral. When we were about 30 to 35 feet underwater, these luminescent lights (particles) would flicker as you waved your arms.”
Hall had to choose between life on the reefs or student teaching in New Zealand. It was a tough decision.
“I decided I had too much invested, so I chose New Zealand,” he says. “It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. We went to Doubtful Sounds, a giant fjord area, and saw the Oamaru Blue Penguins. While walking through the woods and the sun is setting, you would hear these bird sounds that were so exotic and foreign.”
Hall returned to Iowa and teaches at SEP.
“I really like the engaging students in the realm of science, and to help them make sense out of the world,” he says. “If I were to leave one thought with my students, I would say, ‘Always be curious and thirsty for knowledge.’ ”