Math Teacher Alison Griffin Gives up Fish for Functions

Woodgrove High school teacher Alison Griffin gave up fish for functions and now teaches high school Algebra as well as higher math classes. Griffin formerly worked for the U.S.G.S. (United States Geological Survey) in the Fish Health Department, helping to research the impact of diseases and infections affecting wild fish.

Griffin, once a student at Shepherd University, began her transfer into USGS with an internship her senior year of college. She entered the work of Biology by actively working in a bacteriology lab. Throughout her time at USGS, Griffin spent time in different environments of water studying diseases and bacteria harming freshwater fish and working on projects intended to solve the issues.  

My passion was working out in the field and gathering research myself

— Alison Griffin

“I worked there for four years. I knew going into college that I wanted to do something with Biology. I worked at the Fish Health Lab in Leetown, WV,” said Griffin. 

Griffin studied hard in the lab and worked to create new methodologies to figure out the questions that students and scientists were trying to answer. Described by a former coworker as “very hard-working and fun to be around,” Griffin met many new people in her line of work who were passionate about their studies.

“She helped us out a lot with fieldwork and laboratory analysis. I remember her as hard-working, fun, and easy to work with,” said Research Biologist Vicki Blazer.

Griffin caught off guard working in a lab. (Vicki Blazer)

Concentrating heavily on the question of why certain diseases were infecting fish, Griffin and her team would sometimes sit along river banks all day while sampling varieties of fish to study. At other times, Griffin and her team  would catch rides on the NPS ( National Park Service) boats to be able to get into the water to catch the fish they would study. 

“Going out into the field was the best part of my job. There was one study where we went sampling water in the Chesapeake bay, and I was in the middle of the bay in my waders during a massive thunderstorm. I was scared, but it was an adrenaline rush at the same time,” said Griffin.

After four years of working at USGS, Griffin decided to leave in search of something new. Knowing she had received a minor in Mathematics during her time at Shepherd University, she decided that she would go into teaching. At 26, Griffin started her new career as a math teacher. 

“I decided to become a teacher because I got stuck in a rut at my job. I was transferred into the genetics lab and ended up with a new supervisor. I didn’t go out into the field as much, and it became more lab work than anything else. My passion was working out in the field and gathering research myself. I didn’t have the same opportunities and got bored with the job,” said Griffin. 

Griffin is  portrayed by coworkers as a skilled, hard working, lively and a congenial person. Currently teaching at Woodgrove High School, after transfering from the lab right into the classroom,  her students find her very patient and fun, as well.

“Ms.Griffin is very patient with students who have questions. She’s a very bright person and never seems to have a dull moment,” said Griffin’s student, freshman James Johnson.