Published: May 3, 2024

Born and raised in Aurora, Colorado, Hasan Elsayed had a love of math and science from an early age. Now as a math and science teacher, he gets to live his dream of empowering students to pursue their aspirations and achieve success.Hasan Elsayed

Despite initially planning to pursue physics and graduate studies in high-energy physics, Elsayed’s experience as a Learning Assistant for physics courses at CU Boulder inspired him to pursue a career in education. 

Co-developed by Education Professor Valerie Otero, the Learning Assistant program trains undergraduate students in pedagogical content and inclusive pedagogies, so that they are part of the instructional team—breaking down traditional power structures in higher education.

After two semesters as a Learning Assistant, Elsayed realized his passion for teaching, and he enrolled in the CU Teach Undergraduate Teacher Licensure program, where he has been selected as the program’s 2024 Outstanding Graduate.

“Hasan is a leader in the CU Teach licensure program, and he’s dedicated to teaching STEM for equity and justice,” said Will Lindsay, assistant teaching professor in STEM Education and one of Elsayed’s award nominators. “His caring temperament, kindness and dedication to building authentic relationships with students are uniquely suited to ensuring that all students identify themselves as knowers and doers of STEM.”

Lindsay also noted that Elsayed’s mentor teachers, peers and professional colleagues have praised his ability to plan and facilitate lessons that aligned with state academic standards, and their interactions with him have helped them grow as educators.

Following his student teaching at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Elsayed was able to secure his first official teaching position at the same school, where he also coaches e-sports and boys’ volleyball. But first, he will celebrate his graduation from the CU Boulder School of Education with a month-long adventure in Iceland, Germany, Spain, and backpacking through the Dolomites Mountains in Italy.

In his words

Please tell us a bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Aurora Colorado, the youngest of five siblings. Growing up I always had a love for both math and science. Throughout my education I have come to really appreciate the feeling of struggling through a difficult problem and finally arriving at a solution. Only one thing makes that experience better through, and that is sharing it with another person. I originally planned to attend CU Boulder to get a degree in physics and set myself up to go to grad school for high energy physics. However, after spending two semesters as an Learning Assistant in the Physics department, I knew I had found my passion. I knew I wanted to go into education. After learning and growing in the School of Education, I landed a job at a great school at Boulder Valley School District, and I am now living my dream of supporting students to become empowered as individuals so that they can pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. I am extremely grateful to the School of Education and especially my peers and professors who taught me so much! Thank you!

What is one of the most significant lessons from your time at CU Boulder that you’ll carry with you into the next chapter of your life?

At CU Boulder I realized that when we are passionate about something in the way that I am passionate about education, the work that we put into our passions doesn't feel like work. Instead it feels like the right thing to be doing, and a useful expenditure of the limited time we have/share here together. Not only that but when our passions allow us to support others, then, I believe, we are engaging in truly rewarding and fulfilling work that makes a difference in our and others lives.

What does graduating from CU Boulder represent for you or your family/community?

Graduating from CU Boulder means a great deal to me and my family. My mother couldn't be more proud. I feel as though a major chapter in my life has come to a close, and it couldn't be a better end to that chapter. I know that I will take many of the lessons I learned at CU with me for the rest of my life. I also have lifelong friends and colleagues that I have made during my time here. Not only that but by pursuing my passion for education and becoming a classroom teacher, I also think that I have taught my family a lesson about truly considering what we value in life and what we want to spend our time doing. 

What is your best piece of advice for incoming students?

Read the assigned literature, you will learn a great deal from the insight of great minds. 

What are your next steps after graduation?

I have been lucky to land a great job at the school I student taught at, and I will be teaching both math and science next year! At my school I coach the e-sports team and the boys volleyball team, and I love doing both! This summer I plan to take a month-long trip to Europe visiting Iceland, Italy, Germany, Spain, and backpacking through the Dolomites! 

Hasan Elsayed