Meet Your Insight Teachers
Melissa Amoabeng, Science Instructor
Originally from Maryland, Melissa spent much of her youth engaging in environmental education in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Her passion for nature led her to study environmental science at UNC Chapel Hill where she went on to earn a Masters of Science in Public Health. After a year teaching English in France, Melissa returned to the Piedmont to spend two years teaching in school gardens with Guilford County Cooperative Extension 4-H. This experience led her to NC State University where she received a Masters in Horticultural Science while serving as a teaching assistant for eight college courses. In addition to six years of teaching experience, Melissa has professional skills in landscape design, ornamental horticulture, and sustainable agriculture. These days you can find her teaching and farming at the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm, engaging K-12 students in experiential learning outdoors.
Check out her website at https://melissaamoabeng.com/.
Contact: melissa (at) insightcolearning (dot) org
Current Courses: Botany
Mary Chrestenson-Becker, Math Instructor
Mary is passionate about mathematics education. She enjoys finding novel ways to explain math concepts and strives to make math more understandable and enjoyable for her students. She has enjoyed tutoring mathematics for nearly 40 years.
Mary attended Grinnell College, earning a BA in mathematics. She received an MS in Computer Science from Rutgers University.
First as a Senior Technical Associate and later as a Member of Technical Staff, Mary worked as a computer programmer at Bell Telephone Laboratories for three years in Murray Hill, New Jersey. As a lecturer for the Department of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, she taught computer science and math for two years. For nine years, she was a regular volunteer in schools in Boulder, Colorado, leading math activities for students. She also taught several math classes for The Economics Institute in both Boulder and in Jakarta, Indonesia.
In Durham, she taught algebra and geometry at Kestrel Heights High School in for one year. For about ten years, Mary has worked at Durham Academy Upper School as a substitute math teacher. The year after she moved to Durham, Mary started mentoring a girl in the third grade through a program called Durham Companions. Her relationship with that girl (now a young woman) continues today. Since spring of 2016, Mary has been helping out with Chapel Hill Math Circles as a regular volunteer teacher.
Mary’s hobbies are quilting, mathematical origami and international folk dancing, as well as gardening, hiking, swimming, bicycling and a touch of “math magic”. In spring of 2019 she led a mathematical origami activity at the National Math Festival in Washington DC. She speaks some Russian and some Swedish.
Mary and her husband have lived in Durham since 2004 and are parents of two adult sons.
Contact: mary (at) insightcolearning (dot) org
Current Courses: Introduction to Algebra, Logic & Proof
Susan Haws, Executive Director
Susan started her career as a Teach for America Corps Member and middle school teacher in Donna, Texas. She went on to teach English and ESL in New Orleans, LA, and Wake County, NC. After observing first hand the persistent and complex barriers to well-being that her students faced, Susan found her way to the discipline of public health. Susan earned a Master of Public Health degree and a PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her research has focused on a variety of topics, including health-promoting schools, teacher professional development, prevention of adolescent health risk behaviors, and youth mentoring. Susan and her family have lived in Durham since 2005. She led a grassroots effort to add a middle school to Central Park School for Children in downtown Durham in 2013 and 2014.
Contact: susan (at) insightcolearning (dot) org
Current Courses: Health and Social Justice
Christopher Luna, Lead Teacher
As Lead Teacher, Christopher Luna brings to Insight a lifelong commitment to the science and practice of teaching and learning as well nearly a decade studying the history of science, philosophy, and cultural studies.
Christopher’s research and teaching interests are wide ranging, from the material affects (political, social, economic) of myths and stories; the difference between the religious and the secular; the history of computing and artificial intelligence; the history of American esoteric religion; and Buddhist philosophy.
Christopher has taught at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School and Hampshire College in Amherst, Minjiang University in Fuzhou, United International College in Zhuhai, Harvard University in Cambridge, and Duke University in Durham. Christopher is a graduate of Hampshire College. He earned a Masters degree in the History of Science and Religion from Harvard, and he is currently a candidate for a PhD at Duke University.
Contact: christopher (at) insightcolearning (dot) org
Current Courses: Buddhist Literature, Novels of English Women, Revolutions of Europe
Previous Courses: Black Power, Computing Intelligence: A History, The Dakotas, History of Science, Literary Utopias in America, Otherworldly American Media, Sex and Gender
Kyle McQuillan, Spanish Instructor
Kyle McQuillan completed her undergraduate studies at William & Mary, where she received a B.A. in Hispanic Studies and minor in Biology. She is interested in contemporary Latin American literature and interdisciplinary approaches to cultural studies. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Spanish Language and Literature at UNC Chapel Hill.
Contact: kyle (at) insightcolearning (dot) org
Current Courses: Spanish II