Harleen Bal grew up in northern Virginia outside of the Washington D.C. area. Harleen learned a great deal from her experience attending Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, where she delved into unique coursework, such as a year-long water filtration project and an energy systems class. She subsequently went on to study at the University of Richmond where she found her interest in global health and public health. She pursued a double major in Healthcare Studies and Environmental Studies and pursued opportunities to travel, study, and research abroad in various countries. From conducting water quality tests in Africa to learning about traditional healing modalities in Brazil, traveling to diverse continents ranging from South America to Asia left Harleen with a deep appreciation for learning through various cultural lenses and field experiences, particularly from an anthropological perspective.
Harleen believes that students should face education similarly to health—holistically. In health, a multitude of factors influence one’s state of wellbeing, such as mental and social factors, nutrition, exercise, environment, and genetics. Analogously, one’s educational journey is multifaceted, as well–students may learn through various forms of material, such as videos, podcasts, and textbooks. They can learn individually and collaboratively, both inside and outside of the classroom. Harleen encourages students to personally challenge themselves, question, and think critically about the subjects they pursue. In her experience, Harleen taught English while abroad in Brazil and cultivated an interest in fulfilling the role of mentor rather than simply “teacher.” While there, she taught English to students of various ages and expanded her lessons to teach community health topics in the urban favela setting. At ESM, Harleen will be focusing on mentoring students in ACT/SAT Prep, AP Environmental Studies, AP Literature, AP Language, German, and essay-editing. As a mentor, she hopes to help students create goals and achieve those goals while shaping their own personal educational journeys.
In her free time, Harleen enjoys spending time outdoors and being inspired by nature. She is also an avid tea drinker and enjoys sketching and painting landscapes, portraits, and other subjects. In the realm of painting, after completing a series of intricate brushstrokes, for instance, it is crucial for the artist to take a step back and consider the “big picture,” i.e. how the painting looks from afar, what direction in which to move, how the complete picture looks from a new vantage point. In the same way, Harleen enjoys working with students to improve on specific skills and questions, and then help them “take a step back” to carve out the goals that they hope to achieve in the long run or “in the big picture.”