Skip To Main Content

Meet our New Science Department Chair, Lucas Fatsy!

Meet our New Science Department Chair, Lucas Fatsy!

The following article was published in our Spring 2024 Communique. Read the Communique here!

The Future of Science: Introducing Lucas Fatsy, Chair of the Science Department, and his Vision for Progress at St. Joes

“The students are often amazed at how much I accomplish in a day,” shares Lucas Fatsy, Science Department Chair, “but the secret is simply eliminating distractions. I avoid television and cell phones, prioritizing tasks of the greatest interest.” 

Lucas’ commitment to excelling at
diverse pursuits is evident. He is an experienced high altitude climber and ice climber, a skilled woodworker, accomplished gardener, and even crafts his own stationery cards using homemade soy ink. “I strive to pursue my passions relentlessly until they become second nature to me,” he affirms.

Lucas attended the University of Vermont (UVM) with a desire to be a veterinarian. But as is the case with many of our faculty members, his journey took him down a different path. While at UVM, Lucas’ path led him instead to study under one of the world’s most renowned bird biologists, Dr. Bernd Heinrich. “I am constantly fascinated by the circuitous path that science can take,” he says.  

For the next five years, Lucas worked with Dr. Heinrich while continuing his climbing expeditions. One day, while hiking through a cloud forest on the mountain Nanda Devi in India, he paused for a drink of water when a bird called an Indian Trogon sat on a limb and stared at him. “It just peered at me, unafraid, sort of asking what I was doing there. And it hit me, at that moment, that I wanted to be a wildlife biologist.” 

Lucas earned his graduate degree from Southern Connecticut State University in 2007 working under New England Ornithologist, Dr. Noble Proctor. This ultimately earned him a position with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) as a Wildlife Biologist primarily researching bird interactions in Fairfield County. After four years, an economic downturn forced Lucas and 47 of his colleagues to be laid off.
“I then taught Ornithology and Field Biology for six years at Southern Connecticut State University until state funding was cut and my colleagues and I were let go.” This second unexpected turn of events led Lucas on his path toward becoming a high school educator. In 2011, he began his high school career first at Fairchild Wheeler in Bridgeport, followed by Naugatuck High School. After years of teaching, Lucas noticed a position at St. Joes and thought it would be a great opportunity for growth.  

“Science education has been shifting and will continue to do so over the coming years, and I was so excited to see that St. Joes already had a staff of science teachers who were eager and experienced.” Lucas was also excited about the prospect of working with Cadets and inspiring them every day. “A good science curriculum keeps students curious and it keeps them engaged.”
As Department Chair, Lucas follows in the footsteps of Dr. Dan Walsh and Mr. Harvey Mamrus. “I know these are hard shoes to fill,” he says, “but I wouldn’t have taken the position if I didn’t think I was the up to the task and ready for the challenge.”

Lucas looks forward to his work as Chair. “My goal is to employ a suite of courses that will become part of our biomedical pathway – focusing on microbiology and molecular biology and their respective lab techniques. Ultimately, my goal is to ensure students become scientific thinkers and design their own experiments. A Capstone science course will see students present their experimental proposals, carry out original research, compose the results, and compete in national science competitions.” 

In addition to the biomedical pathway, Lucas wants to revisit the many ways in which core courses (such as Chemistry and Biology) have changed over the past thirty years. His goal is to have the Science Department adopt the most contemporary approach to science education.

Lucas also plans to increase the course offerings that favor students interested in environmental science and ecology. “We will use the Nature Boardwalk as a field biology lab where nature becomes the classroom.”

When asked if there was anything else he would like our community to know, it was fairly simple: “Thank you. Thank you for putting your trust in me as the next Department Chair in a long line of impressive chairs before me. The pressure is on, but I look forward to taking SJ’s Science Department to a whole new level and seeing our students truly thrive.”