The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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Biology researcher pursues career in education

Sonia Del Cerro walks down the hall at a brisk clip, her curly red hair flowing behind her. In her arms is a large Petri dish filled with growing mold. It’s just another day in the biology teacher’s schedule.

A biology and AP Biology teacher, Del Cerro’s teaching career spans 14 years with the last five at Jefferson. After two years at Century High School in Orange County, Calif., she moved to Virginia and taught at Park View High School in Loudoun County and then at Mount Vernon High School.

“Teaching at TJ is very different from teaching at other high schools.  In the classroom, I can do more advanced activities, and I don’t have to repeat the same things many times.  Each class, I can get more done and teach more in depth concepts to my students,” Del Cerro said.

Del Cerro has not always been a teacher, though.  She originally planned and studied to be a scientific researcher in the fields of biology and chemistry before she decided to begin a teaching career.

Born in Madrid, Spain, Del Cerro lived there during her childhood.  She enjoyed science and decided to major in biochemistry at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.  After completing her Ph.D. in Spain, she came to the United States to study neurobiology at University of California at Irvine.

After studying for four years at the University of California at Irvine, she became an associate researcher in neurology.  But she wasn’t making the money she wanted, so she decided to start a career in teaching and was hired at Century.

“Dr. Del Cerro is a very dedicated teacher who supports her students with every endeavor that they struggle with,” said Craig Lewis, a design and tech teacher who has been teaching IBET with Del Cerro since she first came to Jefferson.

Del Cerro really enjoys teaching, especially at Jefferson.  Teaching science was one of the careers she first considered in Spain, and she is glad it is her current career.

In 1999, right after Del Cerro moved to Virginia, she heard about Jefferson and wanted to become a teacher here. However, it was the end of the summer, and she was not hired because no more teachers were needed.  So, she started to teach in Loudoun County.  Now, she is pleased that she finally teaches at such a high level school as Jefferson.

“Because I am a researcher, I enjoy being able to put my expertise to more use at such an advanced school as TJ to benefit students,” Del Cerro said.

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