Who is Ms. Hollis?
My name is Vanya Hollis and I teach 9th grade Biology and 11th-12th grade Anatomy and Physiology.
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and I have a large multi-racial family. I live in the Echo Park area of L.A. with my partner of 14 years, Dina, our two dogs, Charlie and Miss Lady, and our son, Milo, who is 3 years old.
I received a Bachelor’s Degree from Oberlin College in Ohio. I majored in Biology and minored in Environmental Studies. But I realized that I love science way back in middle school! I am a naturally curious person. I have always wondered how the world works and why, especially the living world- the human body, plants, animals, cells, genetics, diseases. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian and when I was a teenager, I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I realized I liked working with young people in college.
One summer, I worked for the Forest Service and I took middle school students outdoors to learn about nature. It was so fun! After college, I worked in Environmental Education for a year and then moved to San Francisco where I started the process of becoming a teacher. I taught there for 3 years and then moved to L.A. in 2006. I taught at Manual Arts from 2006-2012, then I came to teach at Community Health Advocates School at Augustus Hawkins. I really enjoy working here- it’s amazing!
I love teaching and I love learning. Those two go together for me. Learning has done so much for me in improving my life and allowing me to think about things in new ways. One of the coolest things about science is that there is always more to learn.
I love being a teacher because I get to work with amazing young people. I get to learn about life and I learn about my students and their lives! My job as a teacher is to make sure all of you can learn and feel safe and included in this classroom. Some days it’s easier to learn than others. Some days may feel impossible because you are sad about breaking up with your girl/boyfriend or you may be dealing with loss and grief in your life or you had a fight with your parent/guardian or something else happened to you. You might have just woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I want you to know that I understand how hard life can be, but I also love teaching so I will always push you to keep learning.
If you ever want to talk about anything- your grade, something you don’t understand in biology or physiology or just life issues, you can come talk to me at lunch, before school, or after school. I’m excited to get to know you, to learn and to grow with you this school year. I hope you feel excited too!
P.S. My favorite color is green and I love chocolate chip cookies!