You will face problems for which you are unprepared, head-on. Discovery is a series of actions, not a theoretical process. Such ideas are embedded in the ethos of our school community. And they are embedded in the work of science.

Interestingly, a giant of science at Webb, and beyond it, Ray Alf was offered his first contract by Thompson Webb to teach biology, a job for which he was completely unprepared. In fact, he had not taken a single course in biology at Doane College, where he studied.

The summer before Alf was to begin, he found himself in Boulder, Colorado auditing courses in botany and invertebrate zoology. Though only auditing, Alf did the lab work and completed the exams, but received no college credit. However, by September was prepared to start his work at Webb.

Webb has always been peopled with teaching giants. Today, the Science Department is led by Lisa Nacionales, a brilliant teacher and academic role model, as well as an outdoor adventurer, rock climber and certified wilderness first responder (WFR). Nacionales joined Webb in 2012 and was elevated to department chair in 2018. Her department has forged one-of-a-kind academic partnerships with faculty at Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College, UC Riverside and Keck Graduate Institute.

“We have been fortunate to have cutting edge lab spaces that inspire creativity, to give students opportunities to do science outside of the classroom, to create partnerships with colleges and other institutions, and to provide support and growth opportunities for our passionate science educators,” Nacionales said.

Through Webb’s research-focused program, students learn to critically evaluate new scientific information as it emerges, ask questions, generate solutions to problems, and to find meaningful and culturally relevant connections between science and their lives.