Sacred Heart Cathedral's student-run newspaper. We've got issues.

The Emerald

Sacred Heart Cathedral's student-run newspaper. We've got issues.

The Emerald

Sacred Heart Cathedral's student-run newspaper. We've got issues.

The Emerald

Dr. Rucker: From PhD to SHC!

Staff Photographer
Dr. Rucker’s staff photo, taken earlier this year.

The Emerald interviewed Dr. Rucker, the new World History and AP Human Geography teacher. A Bay Area native with a great passion for teaching, Dr. Rucker is a wonderful addition to the SHC social studies department!


Would you like to share anything about yourself, or introduce yourself to the community?

I’m from the Bay Area – Bay Area native! – and I’ve been here pretty much my whole life, except for short times away for school. I’m a mom of two kids, a two-year-old and a six-year-old. I probably shouldn’t share that I went to SI, but I’ve always been familiar with the SHC community since I grew up here. In general, I like exploring the outdoors that we have here – going to the beach, taking hikes around, and hanging out with my kids.


What are your goals as a teacher?

If I’ve done a good job as a teacher, my students, when they leave the classroom, will be confident about exploring the world. And, they’ll explore the world on their own terms and find meaningful questions that they want to follow in their future academic or personal lives. I also hope that my students will leave with good communication skills and the ability to communicate their ideas clearly and convincingly.


Why did you decide to become a teacher and where did you go to school?

I think I was always kind of drawn to teaching. Since I was a little kid, and then after I graduated from college, I worked in the regular world for a little bit and then decided to go to grad school. I knew that I wanted to teach high school at some point, but I also really loved learning about history. So, I went to the University of Arizona for my master’s degree, where they had a program on religious history, which is what I was originally really interested in. It was a really great program. And from there, I attended both Arizona and UC Berkeley [for my PhD]. I TA’d as a part of my graduate student package. I taught, for about five years, discussion sections in college courses, mainly history – lots of American history and European history – and I really enjoyed it! I love hearing what students think about things.

I think I get most excited in the classroom when I hear something new that I haven’t thought of before, or when I see students really digging into a primary source or thinking critically about something.

Finally, I finished my PhD in August of this year, so I went straight from the PhD into the classroom! It was a wonderful experience. I still love writing and reading primary sources and doing history – it’s been great.


Why did you decide to come to SHC?

I was really excited to see the posting quite honestly, because I know the community pretty well from my experience here in the Bay Area. What I loved about my high school experience was that I felt treated as a whole person, which I think is part of SHC’s mission as well: understanding students as full people who have all of these different aspects of their lives, whether that’s personal at home or outside of school. When I teach, wherever I am, I also try to perceive students as individuals, to understand who they are and listen carefully, and I think that’s part of the culture here.


You teach World History and AP Human Geography. How is it going so far, and what do you think about the classes?

It’s great. I mean, I love teaching history because it’s my field, so I feel really comfortable there. But, it’s been really fun to explore geography too, particularly because of the breadth of the topic. It gives you a lot of insights into other forms of just understanding the world, whether that’s demography or cultural studies. It gives you a lot of avenues into various social studies aspects.


Is there anything else you would like to share with SHC?

It’s been a really wonderful few months. I’m so happy to be here!

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About the Contributor
Olivia Lombardini '26
Olivia Lombardini '26, Head Copy Editor
Liv is very excited to be a Head Copy Editor for her junior year! Aside from the Emerald, she's involved in the SHC theater, student council, Women's Empowerment, and the DePaul Scholar program. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her friends, listening to music, and binging TV shows!

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