Teacher Feature: Dr. Stewart Bachan

Sinziana Stanciu, ‘20

October 2018

The newest member of the science faculty, Dr. Stewart Bachan, is already becoming a familiar face around BHSEC. Currently teaching 10th-grade Chemistry, and quickly becoming accustomed to our school’s culture it is evident when speaking with Dr. Bachan that he has a passion for education.

Dr. Bachan grew up in the Carribean and attended the University of The West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad before receiving his Ph.D. at CUNY where he has lived for more than 16 years. He still values growing up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago but is more than happy to call himself a New Yorker today. In high school, it became clear that he preferred chemistry over other fields in science, partly because of his teachers. Dr. Bachan stresses the significance of good professors because of their ability to guide students. Professors were particularly the highlight of the colleges that he attended, both in Trinidad as well as NYC, they were important in making a distinguished organic chemistry scientist. The research Professor Bachan has conducted include HIV and Cancer treatment options.

Professor Bachan has taught at Hunter College for ten years, therefore the shift to being a BHSEC teacher is a noticeable difference for him. As a professor in the high school program, the various responsibilities of a teacher here, such as being an Advisor, are new, showing the differences from a college professor and a BHSEC teacher. Further, Professor Bachan looks forward to being able to teach classes in the college program in the upcoming semesters, specifically a medicinal chemistry, considering his past studies of HIV and cancer treatment, or a carbohydrate chemistry class pertaining to his specialization in organic chemistry.

Although Professor Bachan is a teacher first, outside of school he is a stage actor. He enjoys performing in the theater and watching shows and movies. Although he has many responsibilities, he still finds it important to spend time with friends and family, as well as exploring all that NYC has to offer.

Professor Bachan would like BHSEC to know that “I’m born and raised in a very different culture from here, but I’ve been in New York for over 16 years… ‘you don’t have to be born here to be a New Yorker but you do have to want to die here’ and I think that’s how I feel, I feel like I’m a New Yorker, based on that definition. Even though I will never forget where I’m from, I was born and raised in Trinidad, I had an excellent childhood and an excellent educational experience that has built a foundation for me to move where I’m at now.”

As for his recommendation for students considering pursuing chemistry “my advice would be once you find what you want to do, try to get into a lab to do that kind of research and see how you feel about it,” this is important in being able to determine whether you would like to pursue Chemistry further. The hard work in lab results in what Professor Bachan considered one of the most exciting moments in his career, publishing his first scientific paper with his mentor. Further, his mentoring of graduate students makes for a very rewarding experience especially when they came in not knowing much regarding chemistry and “leaves the lab knowing all of these skills and having gotten into this really excellent graduate program or med school”.