Albu brings culture to WA


Click here to read about biology teacher’s past experiences traveling the world

Kai-Lou Yue, Editor-In-Chief

In the small school district of Westford, many students, and even teachers, have stayed in the United States, or even in New England, for their entire lives. However, biology teacher Stefana Albu has a broader perspective on life because of her international experiences.

Albu was born in Transylvania, a state in Romania, and lived there until she was almost eight. According to Albu, during her childhood, Romania had one of the toughest communist regimes in history. However, her family was one of ten that won the Green Card lottery that year and received the opportunity to move to America.

“We sold everything, the house, the car that we had, and came to the U.S. with two suitcases in 1995. We ended up in Westford by good chance and good luck,” she said.

She attended Westford Academy as a high school student, then went to Wheaton College as an undergraduate. After Wheaton, she was awarded the Fulbright scholarship, a U.S. government program between the U.S. and another country that allows the scholar to go to that country for one year and do research in his or her field of study, or teach English.

Because of her double majors in psychobiology and German, Albu chose to do research on sleep and depression in Germany.

“I decided to apply for the research fellowship to be able to do neurogenetic research in Germany […] It integrated both of my majors,” said Albu. “Science is the common language [between the two countries] […] they are very competitive in terms of having the most cutting-edge research. That’s part of the reason why I chose Germany over other German speaking countries.”

After going to Brown University for graduate school as part of its Division of Biology & Medicine, Albu garnered even more international experience working for two years as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Wheaton College. Along with the languages she was already fluent in, mainly English, Romanian, and German, she picked up Portuguese when she traveled to various parts of Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries, and interviewed students applying to Wheaton.

According to Albu, she also interviewed students from Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Chilé. Additionally, she read applications from France, Turkey, and countries throughout Africa.

However, when teaching positions opened up at WA last year, Albu decided to apply as a biology teacher to her alma mater.

“I still have the travel bug, but I decided I was going to settle down. We’re really lucky with everything we have here in Westford, but it took a little bit of traveling to realize that,” she said.

Currently, Albu teaches AP and CP Biology courses, and she uses her international background to enhance the learning experience.

“I would say that having grown up experiencing three different educational systems has shaped me into a scholar who is able to approach educational explanations from a variety of approaches, and these varied approaches have really strengthened my ability to explain material as a teacher,” said Albu.