Dr. Sebastian Spencer’s (Pre-Medicine ’11) passion is to help his students reach their goals. He ensures that each one is ready for graduation and the other responsibilities that will soon follow. Having already earned his Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences, Dr. Spencer knows the tools his students will need. “They’re going to need to know what’s involved with getting into graduate school, a Ph.D. program, how to pursue funding for scientific research, and how to navigate the right decisions for a career,” he said.
Opportunities for Influence
In 2016, Dr. Spencer and his wife, Kayla (Youth Ministry ’10), lived an hour away from campus when Pensacola Christian College invited him to present a biology forum for the natural sciences department. After the forum, Dr. Shane Smith, chair of natural sciences, approached Dr. Spencer about accepting a faculty position. “The door just opened up,” Dr. Spencer said. “I hadn’t sent in a résumé; the type of biology teacher they needed was in line with the disciplines that I could teach.”
Dr. Sebastian Spencer accepted the position as a natural sciences faculty member and moved to the Pensacola area with his wife and children. On top of teaching classes, Dr. Spencer became the student success advisor for the new cell and molecular biology concentration in 2019. He spends many hours each week giving his advisees added instruction and helping them work toward their career goals. “This upcoming year, we’ll have seven or eight grads from the major,” he said. “These will be the first [graduating class] that started as cell and molecular majors.”
In the spring of 2021, Dr. Spencer began teaching PCC’s Pre-Health Preparation Seminar, giving him a fresh, focused way to guide his students. “It’s not a science class,” Dr. Spencer said. “It’s how to apply to grad school and take standardized tests.” The class focuses on preparing the students for everything they’re going to need when they leave college behind.
The Fruits of His Labor
Benjamin Oziemkiewicz (Pre-Medicine ’21) is one of Dr. Spencer’s former students who has appreciated his guidance. Benjamin is currently a dental student at the University of Iowa through the United States Navy’s Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). “Dr. Spencer guided me through the rigorous preparation for applying to dental school,” he said. “I owe a major part of my success in obtaining a seat [in HPSP] to him. There has been no more important and inspiring figure in my academic experience than Dr. Sebastian Spencer.”
Benjamin’s experience is not a rare case. Most students under Dr. Sebastian Spencer’s teaching know how much he cares about them accomplishing what they’ve set out to do. Their goals are his personal mission, and he prioritizes aiding them in every way possible.
“The most rewarding part [of teaching] is really going on to see the students have success in what they’re trying to do,” Dr. Spencer said. He knows that the role he has with students here has the potential to change them for years to come. “It’s been a blessing to be able to influence people and see my own students go on and do really great things.”
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.