Prior to SCHS, science teacher Laura Shigemoto developed new breeds of vegetables


Ellen Vu

In search of a new job, Shigemoto began her teaching career at Gilroy High School.

After Laura Shigemoto majored in agriculture and minored in plant biotechnology, she spent two years working on developing new breeds of popular and common vegetables, such as a new form of kale that would be more appealing to consumers. One day, however, she was saddened to learn that the funding to her project was cut and she was out of a job.

In order to look for a new job, Shigemoto went through more than 20 different interviews. She eventually received a job as a chemistry teacher at Gilroy High School, where she taught for two years before coming to SCHS.

I wanted to pursue a career that was more stable but still science related,” Shigemoto said. 

Shigemoto is now a chemistry and biology teacher here at SCHS. Through her time teaching, she has come to learn that chemistry is renowned for being hard. Because of this, she wants to show students that it is in their everyday lives.

“I think chemistry has a reputation for being difficult and really abstract, but I want to show students it’s in their everyday lives.”

Shigemoto was encouraged to teach chemistry by its reputation for being strenuous and peculiar. She said she looks at the world in a sophisticated way, often thinking of how chemistry is linked to everyday objects and items. 

“There’s chemistry involved with the toothpaste you brush every morning and food you eat,” Shigemoto said. “Chemistry isn’t always about mixing chemicals in a sterile lab.”

One of Shigemoto’s many hobbies is agriculture even though she previously worked in it. 

“It’s actually way more enjoyable than when you do this for Work. Working in Agriculture, you have to work like 10 to 15 hour days. So it’s more fun as a hobby than a career.” Shigemoto said.

Another main hobby she has is arts and crafts, such as glass work and making ceramics for her plants. 

Although Shigemoto felt starting off at SCHS was hectic, she has come to love her job as she feels well-loved and respected by her students. 

“I was stunned on the first day when all my freshmen lined up to pick up papers without me directing them,” Shigemoto said. “Straight lines don’t usually happen until the second semester.”