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Whether you consider it fate or kismet, it was McDonogh School’s good fortune that Jennifer Bender, a native of North Carolina and student at Wake Forest University was hallmates with a McDonogh alumna who spoke about her alma mater as only a proud Eagle would. After her graduation and a year of working in her home state’s public school system, the young teacher, affectionately nicknamed “JB,” moved north to join McDonogh’s faculty in 1986. She was one of two women in the science department at the time.
For the past 35 years, JB Rothen has made biology and chemistry “user-friendly” and as relevant as possible for thousands of students. Additionally, she has taught specialized courses, including zoology and a trail-blazing interdisciplinary anatomical drawing course that blended art and science. While rat dissection is her favorite unit of the year, she says she finds chemistry most enjoyable because students learn so much and ultimately have a better understanding of the world. A nature-lover, she has also chaperoned countless trips with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Year after year, Mrs. Rothen’s students appreciate her organization, predictability, and consistency, which allows them to be excited about what they’re learning. And despite her high expectations, she injects her classes with laughter, good-natured kidding, and well-timed scientific humor. Generous with her time, she is a caring support for department colleagues and a devoted tutor to students who need extra help.
Outside of the classroom, this three-sport high school athlete and devoted Demon Deacons fan has been an inspiring and upbeat contributor to McDonogh’s athletic department. Over the years, Mrs. Rothen has coached JV volleyball, swimming, softball, basketball, boys lacrosse, and Middle School boys soccer.
Thank you, JB for your dedication, friendship, and humor. We will miss your comforting Southern twang and boisterous laugh billowing from the science lab of Naylor 211 and wish you all the best in retirement.