Neeta Basu: Teaches her students to ‘grow through what you go through!’

CHC alum Neeta Basu pictured with her husband and 8-year-old son

Challenging, engaging, exciting, and collaborative are just a few of the ways Campuswide Honors alum, Neeta (Joshi) Basu (‘04), describes her career as a Mathematics Teacher at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, CA.   “I always knew I wanted to go into education since I was in high school. l chose UCI because of their Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and credential program. I took every opportunity offered in college to hone in on my career skills.”  

One of the most impactful professional development opportunities that Neeta took advantage of was serving as Resident Advisor of the Middle Earth honors hall, The Shire.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but being RA of the Shire my junior year helped prepare me for my career. Learning to deal with a variety of personalities, challenges, and administrative tasks in a dorm is very similar to the environment I encounter daily in my classroom.”

Under normal circumstances, Neeta says, “Teaching apprehensive teenagers to actually enjoy math in a collaborative environment keeps me continuously engaged and excited about my career. I have been at Segerstrom for the last 14 years and no two days of work are ever the same, I can honestly say I am never bored in the classroom!”  

However, the move to remote teaching and learning in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic has created more challenges than usual.  “Since the school closures in March, teachers’ careers have been turned upside down. We have had to learn new methods for every part of our job.  Although extremely disheartened by not being able to interact in the classroom with my students,  I always try to lead by example and this was a perfect chance to show students that growth mindset applies to us all, even experienced educators.” In this spirit of lifelong learning and persistence through challenges, Neeta is teaching summer school online as a, “growth opportunity to practice new skills and methods that may be required in the fall.”

When she is not busy with work, Neeta enjoys spending time with her husband and 8-year-old son, particularly at the Newport Dunes during the summer months.  Always in search of a bit of sunshine, she also spends some of her weekend time searching for the best lemon drop martinis in Orange County!  

When asked about her fondest memories from her time in Campuswide Honors, Neeta said that in addition to meeting many of her best friends in Honors, the camping retreat is an experience that has stayed with her, “Although I was never an outdoorsy person, I went camping with Campuswide Honors every year and was always glad I participated.”  Apt advice for students considering what value Campuswide Honors might give them, Neeta encourages current honors students to “surround yourself with people and opportunities that challenge you.”