Ahsan Khan is a STEM Program Assistant at The Bridge Golf Foundation. He recently fielded some questions from Charlie Hanger, our digital content manager.
CH: Tell us a little about yourself.
AK: My parents are from Pakistan. I was born and raised in Queens. I lived in Corona for about 12 years, and then my family moved to South Ozone Park around the time I was in the 7th grade, and I have lived there ever since.
I went to Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical High School in Jamaica, Queens, which I picked because of their robotics program. I was always into science and math, so I thought attending this school would be a good choice. I was a part of the soccer team during my junior year, as well as the track team, and I even made the wrestling team, although I didn’t stick with it. Our robotics team participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition; we had to build a robot that played basketball.
CH: What made you want to pursue physics in college?
AK: The first time I heard about physics was when my uncle got me a DVD on college physics courses. I think I was in the first grade, so I didn’t really have any idea what was happening, but I remember thinking that one day I would understand. During high school, I did well in physics, and I got accepted to SUNY at Buffalo for the engineering in physics program. After one year, I transferred back to the city and attended the New York City College of Technology for two semesters before moving on to City College in Harlem, where I graduated with my degree in physics.
CH: What are your overall academic and career objectives?
AK: After graduation, my original plans were to attend graduate school. I got accepted to the master’s program at City College and attended for a semester. I was also the instructor for an introductory physics lab section. During this time, I was trying to decide if it was a good time to continue pursuing my degree. Ultimately I decided it wasn’t, and I began to take courses in data science. My current goal is to enter the field of data analytics. I still plan to obtain my graduate degree in physics in the future.
CH: In a few sentences, sum up your approach to teaching. Also, how does your approach differ when working with college students, high school students, and middle schoolers?
AK: Working with students of different ages, I have learned that teaching and tutoring are more effective when I try to work around the problems the students are facing. I try to get all of the students to say exactly what they’re not understanding, or work with them to try and figure out the issue. I believe practice is the best way to learn, so I tend to ask students lots of questions so they can apply what they know and figure things out on their own. I’ve learned that students are not so different from each other, regardless of age. I have seen the same good and bad habits from both grade-school and college-level students.
CH: What are some of your hobbies and interests beyond teaching?
AK: I love to read about philosophy, religion and occult studies. I just finished reading Nietzsche’s “Twilight of the Idols.” I have now moved on to a translation of the Hermetica, an Egyptian-Greek text from the second century that was purportedly written by Hermes Trismegistus. I also enjoy music. My favorite group is Mobb Deep, and my favorite composer is Domenico Scarlatti.
CH: How has being a native New Yorker helped you relate to the young men in our programs?
AK: Growing up and attending school in New York has allowed me to understand what our students are experiencing, both on the academic side as well as on the social side. Going to school in the city is tough, but I am glad to see that our students are working to make the most of the opportunities they have.