“I feel Moraine Valley is unique in how we invest ourselves in the community,” says Sam Chen, a professor of biology at Moraine Valley. “With many area high school students coming here, our graduates working in the community, the programs that we have, and service opportunities, it seems like Moraine Valley is woven through the fabric of the community.”

Chen is personally committed to making a difference by investing in those around him.

“I have always had a deep desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and minister to people,” he says. “Initially, I desired to minister to people’s health needs through the medical field, but when I was given a chance to teach, I found my perspective widened to see how educating someone over an entire semester can have such a profound, and perhaps even deeper impact in their life than simply to be just physiologically sound. I then fell in love with being able to influence, equip and train students to be able take care of people.”

Chen teaches general biology, anatomy and physiology, and human anatomy and physiology classes, and since many of his students plan to become nurses, he often heard from them about how difficult the courses were. To ensure he was teaching what they’d need to know to be successful in their field, Chen went back to school to get a master’s degree in nursing, worked for three years as a critical care nurse and brought his experience back to the classroom.

“I have to laugh because since I came back, my classes are a bit harder rather than easier as the stakes are so high for those who want to provide good nursing care,” he says. “Ultimately, that was my goal—to bring expertise and to lead by example of what it takes to be excellent.”