By Division I Media & Journalism reporter Theo
New MST teacher Jonathan Cannon has a PhD in Applied Mathematics, so it’s safe to say he was a good student. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri he always thought of himself as strong in school, but it was not until 4th grade that he uncovered his particular penchant for math and the sciences. He participated in math competitions and enjoyed them.
He would later go on to get a bachelors degree in Mathematics, and his PhD focused on neuroscience and the brain. While working with the rest of his research team studying the brain, Jon looked at and modeled homeostasis in neurons. Homeostasis is the involuntary negative feedback in animals. For example, when someone puts their hand on a stove and they realize the stove is hot, they take hand off stove without even thinking about it.
After researching the brain on a team at Brandeis for two years, Jon was looking at job postings when he saw one for a MST teacher at Meridian Academy. Jon had previously looked into becoming a teacher, but had felt held back by things like having to teach from a textbook and navigating huge classes. However, Meridian had neither of these, which made it a perfect fit.
Jon is also an excellent musician and has been playing violin for nearly twenty years. He said he likes violin because the kind of fiddle music you can play on it stretches across many cultures. He also loves how it can be very melodic while remaining rhythmic. Jon plays violin with his band at local venues all around the greater Boston area. I asked him what his love of music and his love of math have in common. He replied, “Math and music are both good matches for people who like to work on more abstract things.” When I jokingly asked him if he did not like physics, he responded, “The wonderful thing about physics is that it elevates boring physical objects to a more interesting abstract way of thinking.”
When I asked Jon about why Meridian was a good fit for him, he responded, “What I have lacked in previous work of mine was community… it is nice that I get to see the same faces every day.”