The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Melissa Nixon


Melissa Nixon is a freshman physics and Advanced Placement Physics teacher. She grew up in Framingham, Mass. and went to college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Beyond her scientific pursuits, she likes to read, do yoga and play board games, and her favorite flavor of ice cream is raspberry chocolate chip.

What is your professional background?

I went to MIT for college and I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Then, I went to grad school and got a masters degree in physical oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. And then, I worked for several years for a company that was doing natural disaster modeling where I specialized in hurricane models. I didn’t like that, so I went back to school again, and went to Boston University to get my degree in teaching science.

Why did you choose to begin teaching physics?

I like thinking about the physics of things we interact with in our daily lives. I’m not into astrophysics; that’s too big. I’m not into nanophysics—I’m glad there are people there—but that’s too small. I want to understand how the things around me work and affect me, so I like all the little demos and classroom physics.

What do you most enjoy about teaching physics?

Every day is different. Every day, there is something new and very hands-on. I like getting to interact with other people and that I’m constantly learning new things. That’s exciting for me.

What do you hope your students take away from your class this year?

I would say there are two big things. One of them is the idea that we learn by doing and that learning is a hands-on activity. It’s not just passively done by reading and absorbing; it’s done by trying things and struggling with the material. The other one is a sense of curiosity about the world around them.

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