Go to Top

Sara Smithback

Sara Smithback

2016 Fellow
Harlem Renaissance High School
Harlem, New York

Teaching Discipline


Why Chemistry

“I always knew science was important, but didn’t find my personal connection to it until I took organic chemistry on a whim. I was fascinated by molecular structures and the way that small changes can have drastic effects on their function in biology.”

Professional Experience

After completing her undergraduate studies, Sara worked as a program coordinator for Reasoning Mind, Inc. for two years. In this role, she trained more than 100 teachers on the Reasoning Mind program and collaborated with principals and administrators to design implementations that maximized the benefits of the curriculum in the classroom. Sara also served as a math circle director and team lead with Reasoning Mind—a position that allowed her to teach, organize and create materials for a Saturday math enrichment program for almost 70 students in grades three through eight. She began teaching full time at Harlem Renaissance High School during the fall of 2015, as a Chemistry Immersion Fellow in the NYC Teaching Fellows Program.  

Volunteer Experience

Sara has volunteered at several outfits: as a co-chair of Women In Science at Columbia University; as a mentor for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity in New York City; and as an assistant at an orphanage in Resistencia, Argentina.


Sara enjoys dancing, doing crossword puzzles, and traveling.

Academic Background

  • Relay Graduate School of Education (expected completion in 2017)
  • Columbia University (Master of Arts in Chemistry)
  • University of Chicago (Bachelor of Arts in Economics)


I am excited about the connections I’ve made with other KSTF Fellows. I really want to help traditionally disenfranchised students connect with chemistry and ask questions! I love how creative my students are when approaching problems and want to find more ways of untapping their genius.

Sara Smithback
2016 Fellow