After years of scientific exploration, Roberts retires

Lily Zuckerman, Ad Manager & Assistant Social Media Manager

Dr.William Roberts has been an active member of the Masters community for eight years. This year, he will say a farewell to Masters. Roberts found his love for science during high school from his Biology/Natural History teacher at The Hackley School. Roberts explained, “I’ve been lucky, I think to do things where I thought not only were they interesting, but I had a chance to do something useful.”

Prior to his time at Masters, Roberts attended Harvard undergrad before going to Medical School at Columbia. He then became a  gastroenterologist and worked for twenty years developing drugs and new medicines in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. During this time, Roberts worked at Merck to develop pharmaceuticals, such as “Singulair” and “Pepcid AC.” Singulair is a common medicine to prevent asthma attacks, and “Pepcid AC” is an antacid. 

Eight years ago, Roberts decided to continue his love for science to teach at Masters. He said, “It seemed like if I was going to make a career change, I better do it before I got too old and tired. So I decided to try becoming a teacher. I always liked kids a lot and interacting with my own daughters. I just thought it would be a nice change of pace to have.”

This year, Roberts has been teaching EPA classes [a ninth grade course], human biology, and a seminar course on ethics and medical research. Throughout his time at Masters, Roberts has taught courses such as …… and has allowed for his students to explore science through hands-on experiences. 

Sophomore Jacob Becker, one of Roberts’ former EPA students, said, “I thought Dr. Roberts cared about every person in the class and made sure that they had a great learning experience, which he did everything he could to ensure.” He added, “We did  many hands-on experiments which provided us with fun learning and helpful learning tools to apply our knowledge.”

Sophomore Lucas Petrini agreed with Jacob, saying, “He’s a very committed teacher. Like no matter what time it is, he’ll talk to you about work and what you need to catch up on, which is pretty rare for teachers nowadays,  I feel like is great quality. He’s not a sit-down lecture kind of guy, he was always engaging. He really embraced my mistakes when I was in online school and I found that really hard in most of my classes, and he always made sure that I was participating. I wasn’t getting left behind in the class, and I really valued that as a learner.”

Chemistry Teacher, Renee Hurley spoke on what being a colleague with Roberts has meant to her.

“I will miss most is his calmness. He’s always calm no matter the situation. I will miss hearing him break out in songs occasionally for no reason. And just I’ll miss his presence and the friendship that we have.”

Roberts said that he enjoyed his time at Masters and working in the science field., “Between medicine or developing drugs or being a teacher, they all seem like doing something that I thought was useful. And I also got a chance to work with a lot of really nice kids and a lot of really smart, capable colleagues,” he said.

Roberts will be leaving Masters next year to retire. He said, “ I’ve changed careers a couple of times during my overall working life. And I thought it would be interesting to do some other things with a little more flexible schedule.” 

He hopes to spend more time during his retirement with his family, volunteer teaching at the Museum of Natural History, helping with food insecurities, and spending time with his wife in the city. Roberts will be missed at Masters, but will not be forgotten with the mark he made at Masters.  

Isabella Shinkar, a member of Robert’s last advisory said, “I will miss his kindness and how he’d always reach out and make sure our advisory was okay during the week.”  

“It’s bittersweet because it’s a change and I’ve really enjoyed my time here. The pandemic has made it more difficult to connect as much with people, but I hope to spend some time with the friends I’ve made over the years.” Said Roberts.