10 Questions with Sheena Hilton ’05, Instructor in Chemistry and Flagstaff Cluster Dean
Reporting by Karen Wang
Sheena Hilton ’05 has been a member of the Andover community for 12 years, including her time as a student. A native Georgian, Hilton teaches chemistry and coaches Andover Girls Volleyball on campus. Hilton has a master’s degree in chemistry in addition to a master’s in food science. Outside of the classroom, Hilton is an avid reader.
The world was different… People used their room phones. We had each other’s room phone numbers memorized. We used to get campus-wide voicemails since we didn’t really use email. I don’t remember doing much of anything on email, but I’m pretty sure we had it. It was not a major part of life. Most of us had desktops. We used to make fun, in a nice way of course, of my roommate who had a laptop, but it didn’t work so well, and we were like, ‘Why would you get a laptop? Who would do that? You should’ve gotten a desktop.’ It was just a different time.
It’s funny. Andover, it changed in a lot of ways, and in some very important ways, it stayed the same. I think the importance of community and commitment to diversity and inclusion has been strengthened in the years since I [was] a student, but that was still important when I was a student. They’re obviously building new buildings like [the Snyder Center] and the library just got renovated. Paresky Commons has also been renovated since I was a student. It’s very beautiful, and there are a lot of food options now. I suppose those things have changed, things like the Tang Institute and the Makerspace. Also, I think that Learning in the World has really expanded. In fact, we heard a presentation on it during a faculty meeting and I was like, ‘Man, I was at Andover too soon, at the wrong time.’
It’s fun. I work with [Head Coach Clyfe Beckwith]. I’m the assistant for the Varsity girls team, and I really enjoy volleyball and love the sport in general. It’s really great to see the team come together each fall and see how we’re going to do throughout the season. I was really sad that our season ended when it did this year because we lost in the first round of the playoffs, and that was a bummer. Overall, it’s a fun group to be around.
I like to read. I’m currently reading “Hamilton” because I’m going to see “Hamilton” in New York on Saturday. It’s been a long time coming, so I’m excited about it. I’m going with my brother, who’s also an Andover alum. I really like to read. Typically, I don’t read books like “Hamilton” and [instead] read young adult dystopian novels. But I’m taking a little break so [I] can understand the story of Hamilton. I like to watch sports. I love watching women’s college volleyball. I also like watching the NFL and the NBA, but I have watched less of that after becoming a Cluster Dean.
Probably “Silver Linings Playbook.” I think some people think it’s a little bit of a sad movie, but I think it’s funny. It’s obviously complex but I tend to have a preference towards movies that combine sad and funny, and I think “Silver Linings Playbook” does it in a particularly unique way. And it combines football, and it takes up some interesting topics like mental health issues.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of the “Throne of Glass” series, but that’s one of my favorites… I liked the “Lunar Chronicles” as well. So that’s with [the characters] Cinder and Scarlet. I read “Hunger Games” back in the day. I don’t know, but that would be one of my favorites. The “Throne of Glass” is probably my favorite series that I have read recently. I also really liked the “Night Circus,” which is not a series, but I love the book… I haven’t read “Game of Thrones” yet because I have decided that it is not a good thing to read it during the school year, but I love the show so eventually I’ll read the books.
Just pure food [would] probably be sweet potatoes. I love sweet potatoes, and I usually eat two or three of them a day because I get four halves at lunch, and then I got back to dinner and get another four halves. So I guess that would be two to four. I love sweet potatoes, and I also really enjoy good pizza and good burgers.
The original version of the ACE program that happens over the summers here used to take place in Carbondale, Colorado, and there was this awesome spot that you could hike up to called Red Rock, and then you could walk over to this ledge and sit and look out. That was really beautiful. Except I haven’t been there for quite a long time now because the last time I did ACE was 2010. I also like being with friends and being with family.
I’ve been skydiving twice, once in Massachusetts and once in Georgia. I also used to do aerial silks and flying trapeze. It was awesome, and I wish I still did it, but it’s been some time because I tore my meniscus doing silks in May of 2017. Though, it’s more of a time problem rather than an injury problem because it’s harder to get to classes as being a Cluster Dean keeps you pretty busy.
Skydiving is a feeling unlike any other. I don’t have a fear of heights, and I enjoy the adrenaline. I was a little nervous, but once you jump out of a plane, you just have to hope that the parachute opens. Fear doesn’t really help because you’re going to jump out of the plane. [The plane is] not going back down to the ground with you in the plane.