LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Bob MacArthur

Position: Science Teacher
School: Highlands Ranch High School
School District: Douglas County School District
City, State: Highlands Ranch, CO

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Bob MacArthur was nominated by his colleague, Heather Berry.

Mr. MacArthur has changed the lives of his students through his science field studies and projects. He inspires his students through his passion for geology, meteorology and astronomy. His meteorology students have even worked to build and launch a weather balloon into the stratosphere. They have collected data, taken amazing photos and even reached heights over 100,000 feet into the stratosphere. The students have collaborated with other classes to collect data for calculus, statistics and AP Biology.  

One of the ways Mr. MacArthur has really influenced his students throughout the years is by taking them around the world to experience the geography and culture of different areas. He works tirelessly to plan authentic science field studies where students can experience the science they learn about in school. He has taken students to Big Island Hawaii, where they see the glow of the lava at night, and to Iceland, where they can see tectonic plate boundaries and hike on glaciers. He has also taken them to Ecuador, where they saw the animals Darwin studied, and to New Zealand, where students experienced many different geological formations. 

While the trips have a focus on science, the ultimate experience they receive is in learning about the cultures around the world. Mr. MacArthur forges relationships in the countries he visits, and finds ways for his students to truly experience and embrace the culture. He has facilitated visits with Hawaiian elders, cross-cultural exchanges in New Zealand and service projects in the Andes Mountains. Not only do these experiences shape the lives of the youth who travel, but they bring back stories, parallels and photos to share with staff and students.  

"On a school level, Bob is a leader in both our department and in the school," Berry said. "He partners with other classes and students on a variety of projects. Bob cares about his students and they enjoy going to his class. Many students continue to keep in touch after graduating and visit Bob years after they are out of high school. Bob has a strong moral compass and makes decisions based on what is right, not just what is easy or what he is told to do."

Comments (22)

Ryan Hatch Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac has changed my life forever, so yes I would call him a LIFECHANGER. I have taken every single one of his class high school and college levels. I went on his Hawaii trip a couple of summers ago, and it was the best week of my life just because of his passion for science, his passion for teaching, and his passion for making everything an experience. He made the trip so much fun with his knowledge of the island and the culture. I later talked my sister Krista into going on the south pacific trip with Mr. Mac because I did not want him to just change my life but change hers. And now he's stuck with the Hatch's for life. Mr. Mac is the gift that keeps on giving, he's a genuine human being, an atom of energy and most importantly a LIFECHANGER!

Helen Burnside Posted over a year ago

My Highlands Ranch grandchildren have benefited greatly from their exposure to Mr. Bob MacArthur through classroom studies as well as his excellent leadership on various science field study adventures. Ryan still enjoys reminiscing with great excitement about the Big Island Hawaii trip in early June 2016, shortly after his Highlands Ranch High School graduation! What a way to finish high school! Thanks to Mr. Mac's encouragement and enthusiasm, Ryan enrolled in college and is scheduling science related classes when possible. He has great respect for Mr. Mac as a teacher, mentor, and friend. Krista participated in Mr. Mac's June 2017 educational travels to the South Pacific where the experience resulted in many lasting friendships, and she returned with tons of photos that will refresh memories for a lifetime! She is a senior now and excited about Mr. Mac's upcoming Spring Break educational travels to Hawaii. Krista and Ryan look forward to sharing same as well as different experiences of yet another Mr. Mac travel adventure! It's impossible to thank Mr. MacArthur sufficiently for his quality personal time that extends far beyond the classroom or field studies that make him the outstanding Life Changer he has become to this family!

Lori Hatch Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac has taught 2 of my children and has taken them on amazing life changing trips, which I will always be grateful. It's what he has done beyond that, it's what he has taught them and given to them that I want to express here. My son was struggling in his adjustment to high school when Mr. Mac sat down with us and told him that HE BELIEVED in my son and knew he could be successful if he just came to class and participated. That was the beginning of a great teacher/student relationship which is now a friendship. Mr. Mac teaches 6 classes between high school and a local community college - my son has taken all 6 and loved every minute of it. My son was hesitant to continue his education after high school, when he found out he could take a class with Mr. Mac he decided to give it try. He's now starting his sophomore year and I believe it's all because Mr. Mac believed in him. He then encourage his younger sister to take some of Mr. Mac's classes and she has loved them as well. She came home the other day and before I could ask how her day was she volunteered "STARS ARE AMAZING!!, I'm loving Mr. Mac's class". Mr. Mac LOVES what he does and it shows in his passion for science, teaching and more importantly the way he connects with his students. I recently got the privilege of seeing Mr. Mac as he presented information about space and stars to kids at the American Girl store, he was so engaging and the kids loved him. I realized then why his classes are full and students rave about him. He changes lives on a daily basis and he has changed my children for good and I could never thank him enough. This is the perfect award for him, he is a life changer.

Chris York Posted over a year ago

I studied with Bob at NAU. His passion for science, even in college, was so contagious. I have such fond memories of our geology trips to California and all over Arizona. There is one spot in AZ every time I pass it I think of him (Basalt)! I wish we lived closer to him so my kids could take his course because I know their lives would be changed for the good. I cannot say enough about this guy; he is genuine, caring and amazing in every way. Bob Mac is truly a breath of fresh air in the education system and a light in a world that can be dark. Love this guy!

Brittany Hall Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac was my teacher for 2-4 years of High School. His Earth Science class was such a blast, it was what compelled me to take his Astronomy course. Little did I know that astronomy was going to become one of my most treasured interests. He has a way of making even the more bleak of topics fascinating, and an amazing way of successfully teaching in a way that everybody can understand. His sense of humor is flawless for the crowd he is engaging, and he does a spectacular job in using it to further his education.

Peter Sandifer Posted over a year ago

Without a doubt Mr. Mac is the best teacher I’ve ever had. I have struggled in math and science my whole life and thus developed a deep resentment for those subjects. I found myself in Mr. Mac’s class after a very rough year acedemically and personally, and very quickly realized I was not in for a normal science course. Right out of the gate his class was engaging, and interesting to me in a way that no math or science class had ever been. You could go on and on about how great of a teacher Mac is, and how he makes science accessible and genuinely fun. But what makes Mr. Mac a fantastic, life changing teacher, is how he interacts with students. Yes everyone will talk about the incredible trips he takes students on around the world and the wonderful opportunities he provides for them, but Mr. Mac is a life changer in his day to day. He has immense compassion for all the kids he teaches. He was always willing to work with me and help me where I struggled and even when I didn’t put in the work, he did. He keeps students engaged and ready to learn. Mr. Mac changed my life as a student by persisting to invest time and energy in me even when I didn’t invest the same in his class. You always feel welcome in his classroom which fosters an environment that allows all students regardless of background to thrive. You would be hard pressed to find someone who took a Mac class that doesn’t deeply respect him. In my mind Mac is the perfect teacher for this award. The only only drawback that Mac has is that he can’t teach everyone.

Jacob Bail Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac has changed my perspective of science to make it not only an interest but a passion. I'm not currently pursuing biomedicine at UCCS which if not for him would not have been a possibility.

Eric Krauss Posted over a year ago

He inspired me in science to be a teacher just like him. Because of him I want to be an awesome teacher just like him, and make science fun and intresting for new generations.

Krista Hatch Posted over a year ago

I have had my life changed in multiple ways by Mr. MacArthur. I have had him as a teacher twice, learning about astronomy and geology. Now I know what you’re thinking, “how can a teacher change your life in geology? Its just the study of rocks”. Mr. Mac just has a way of providing information that engages you and makes you want to learn more about it. I love geology now and that is why I decided to take another class that he teaches, astonomy. I have it right now and we have only had the class 3 times and I have learned more than I have in all of my other 4 classes combined, but its all so interesting. He also teaches meterology but I was never lucky enough to have had the chance to take it. His passion for all that he teaches creates a flame and passion inside all his students. I now have that passion inside me about earth sciences because of him. I was also lucky enough to had gone on a trip with him to the South Pacific that changed my life. I had always wanted to go to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji, so that it was all offered in one trip and Mr. Mac was the coordinator, I knew I had to go. It was such a cool trip because we got to use what we learned in geology during that trip and look at all the different rocks and soils and volcanoes that we had seen just months or weeks before. We also got to look at the stars which was another reason I was intrigued to take his astonomy class. This trip created these great memories and friendships that I will now have forever. I am now going with him over Spring Break to Hawaii and I couldn't be more excited. Mr. Mac is just a great teacher and has changed SO MANY lives that you couldn’t possibly keep track. There is no other teacher that deserves this more than Mr. MacArthur does.

Abbie Tracy Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac, as we always called him, was the best teacher, the most influential teacher in my high school. He was passionate and truly cared about each and everyone of his students. He always took time out of his day to really listen when we talked. I graduated high school in 2013 not really sure what I wanted to do. When I finally found my passion in college it was in teaching. This was majorly influenced by Bob MacArthur. I teach third grade now and everyday I remember his passion and drive for kids and science. Thank you Mr. Mac.

Amy Alonzi Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac is, without a question in my mind, a Life Changer! I had him during my freshman year of high school for Earth & Environmental Science and had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with him right before my senior year. Mr. Mac embraced every challenge and victory we had on the trip with an incredible level of humility that I hope to carry with me on future trips. He really cares about his students and what they're doing - at the time, I was playing golf and always felt like he supported me and wanted to help. And, he's always excited for visits from his former students. Even though I wouldn't typically consider myself a "scientist," Mr. Mac inspired me to learn - and, "rocks." (pun intended) Thanks for everything!

Grace Kirchgessner Posted over a year ago

I had Mr. Mac a few years ago and even now I still remember what a difference he made in my science education. He was easily the best science teacher I’ve ever had and that includes college professors. His excitement on the topics was contagious and has resonated with me almost 8 years later.

Scottie Baer Posted over a year ago

Bob MacArthur's excitement about science is contagious! Students cannot help noticing how impactful science has been in Bob's life, and his classes provide plenty of practical, hands-on experiences with applying the tools and principles of science in a variety of ways and settings. He is willing to go beyond the classroom, the building, and even the borders of the United States to bring his students closer to "real life" science experiences, and they will treasure these "field trips" forever.

Eva Fox Maye Posted over a year ago

Bob MacArthur is a once-in-a-lifetime teacher. I credit him with not only igniting my daughter’s passion for science but helping her to navigate the tough teenage years in a professional, compassionate manner. He always has a ready smile, and a boundless enthusiasm that truly speaks to a teenager’ soul. He is, without a doubt, a fabulous teacher and mentor and he has our lifelong admiration and respect.

Ed Mate Posted over a year ago

“Mr. Mac” is the definition of this award! His gift for inspiring young minds to inquire into the realm of science is truly remarkable. For Bob MacArthur the world is his classroom. He is not satisfied with text books and power point lectures. He understands that that to inspire you have to experience. Our daughter was lucky enough to participate on three of the field study trips Mr. Mac organized. These trips included Iceland, Hawaii and Ecuador/Galapagos. All of these trips were planned to squeeze every drop of learning out of the experience. On Mr. Mac’s Tripp’s students experience everything it all! History, culture, science, service projects and don’t forget local fare. Our daughter came back from these trips with more than a few stamps in her passport. She came back a different person with experiences that changed her life forever. She came back with her life truly changed for the better. Thank you, Mr. Mac!’

Anna Mate Posted over a year ago

Mr. MacArthur (aka Mr. Mac, Mac, Mac Attack, The Volcano Guy, and many others) serves as not only an inspiration to his students, but to anyone who every meets him. I was one of his many very lucky students that had the privilege to go on three of his incredible trips; Hawaii (2014), Iceland (2014), and Ecuador and the Galapagos (2015). My high school career was entirely centered around the science department, and my love for the subject was only fueled my junior year when I first entered Mr. Mac's Astronomy class. His passion for what he teaches and his positive energy inspired everyone in that class, that made even me, a kid who I thought couldn't get anymore excited about science, that much more passionate. But one of the most amazing things about being in a class led by Mr. Mac is how he brings together all of his students. In my Meterology class my senior year Mr. Mac created an atmosphere (pun most definitely intended) that brought students of all kinds together. We all learned so much in that class individually, but we also learned just how much of science is working as a team. The weather balloon launches showed that more than anything, because everyone in the class showed up at 6am even though it wasn't required. Mr. Mac had sparked a passion for science in every single one of us, that none of us will ever forget. Mr. MacArthur has done so many things to earn this honor. Not only because of the amazing things I have been able to do because of my experience in his class, but because everyday, he shows up ready to inspire more students to explore, question, and experiment, but most importantly to grow to be that inspiration for others.

Mandee Berry Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac has a passion for his field of study, but more than that; he has a passion for his students to grow in their knowledge of science and of themselves. He got me hooked on meteorology and astronomy my junior year by creating engaging learning experiences that I will never forget. I graduated several years ago, but the memories and knowledge I took from this class stays with me. I can't think of a better candidate for this award!

Dani Thomson Posted over a year ago

Bob MacArthur is an amazing and genuine educator! The relationships he fosters throughout our school is inspirational. Some of my SPED students formed a friendship due to Bob putting a telescope that was tracking the sun in a hallway. They realized they had a shared interest in space which started a conversation that never would have happened w/out Bob. Bob is VERY deserving of this award. PLEASE GIVE IT TO HIM!! We love Mac!

Kaitlin Engelbert Posted over a year ago

Mr. MacArthur has been INCREDIBLY influential throughout my high school and college career. I first connected with him on a high school science field study back in 2014. These science field studies he coordinates have been some of the greatest trips I have been on! He meticulously plans every detail with every student's interests in mind so that they can each enjoy the trips to their fullest extent. During these trips, not only does he educate his students on the wonders of the natural world, but also ensures that the students get a dose of cultural enrichment as well. It's surpasses any classical tour! I can personally say that these trips have had a huge impact on me in terms of applying scientific concepts to the real world. In addition, his passion for teaching students science radiates throughout his classroom as every single student becomes engaged in the material he teaches. In fact, Mr. MacArthur changed my life by inspiring me to pursue a degree in Astronomy with a minor in Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder of which I am still pursuing to this day! He encouraged me always to shoot for the stars and has supported me and helped me grow as an individual. We have kept in touch over the years since I graduated high school and still always come to him for life advice. He truly has the best in mind for all of his students and I cannot think of a more qualified person for the LifeChanger of the Year!

Bryan Winkelman Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of working with Bob at Highlands Ranch High School for a number of years, and his passion for astronomy (and life in general) was contagious. I have since left that building and now teach elsewhere, but I continue to follow Bob and his students on their amazing adventures in the atmospheric and astronomical sciences through social media, because they just have so much fun learning with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and experiences he provides for them. His energy and passion continue to inspire me today in my work with my own students, and I still hold out hope of getting tapped for an amazing Bob science adventure one day!

Erin Serra Posted over a year ago

The first class I ever had with Mr. MacArthur, he completely managed to change my perspective of science. I didn’t like science before that day but he made it fun and interesting. We learned a lot about science in both the classroom and the field. He brought culture and science together and his influence has been tremendous not only on me but also on other students - even the ones not in his classes. The information I have learned from him helps me not only to excel at science but also has helped prepare me for life outside of school. He is the best teacher I have ever known and is one of the people who has inspired me to go get my teaching license after my BA.

Danielle Listiadji Posted over a year ago

Mr. Mac made a HUGE impact in my life throughout my time in high school. He believed in me as a student, encouraged me when I struggled, and made me a better person overall. He is always there for his students and I don’t think he gets the recognition he deserves. Now, I have graduated from college and have started my full time career, and I still think back fondly on my days in his class, learning, and growing as a person. I was lucky enough to be able to go on the Hawaii field study back in 2012 and I have wonderful memories of that trip to this day! Mr. Mac truly loves his students, is passionate about science, and is able to help his students not only enjoy school, but excel and want to come to his classes.