Science Faculty
Scott Doehler
Oliver Amiel
Neil Bryant
Sue Cheung
Ron Neufeld
Rick Rodrigues
Ken Snow

In this increasingly technical and scientific world, a solid grounding in science is imperative. Every day, we confront new issues and must make important choices based on our understanding of scientific data. To understand these issues, it is essential that Brentwood students have a good grasp of the scientific method: observation, questioning, forming hypotheses, testing hypotheses by experimentation, and drawing conclusions based on empirical evidence, not speculation. In all courses, laboratory work is used to provide a practical means of demonstrating scientific principles.

The study of science is an integral part of the curriculum, with all students taking foundation courses in Science 9 and 10, a Science and Technology 9 elective, and at least one Science 11 elective. Many students gain Grade 11 credits in all three major sciences – physics, chemistry and biology – with a significant number studying two Science 12 courses.

Brentwood Logo
A laser demonstartion in science class
Testing a hover craftin creative science
Preparing to race model cars
Model CO2 Cars Racing

Scott Doehler

B.Sc. (Hons) and B.Ed. (Queen’s University) Instructional Leader Science, Metamorphosis 9

Born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, the son of two teachers, Mr. Doehler has, along with many fellow Canadians, opposed Earth’s rotation and slowly drifted west. After backpacking around the world for a year following university, Mr. Doehler enjoyed ten great years teaching junior high school in Edmonton and Calgary before shifting to ‘Island time’ and joining the Brentwood faculty. He has an absolute passion for the rocks, raw power, and beauty of our planet, and champions courses in Earth Science and Geology. When not in one of the science labs, Mr. Doehler can be found in the cavernous Robotics room in the Centre for Arts and Humanaities, exploring mechanics and programming with a dedicated fleet of student roboticists. Outside of the wonderful whirlwind that is Brentwood, Mr. Doehler joins his wife Marianne – a fellow geologist - in passions for vocal music, snowboarding, and backcountry hiking. Summiting Kilimanjaro in Africa, and taking their 8-month-old son on his first month-long camping trip throughout Alaska and the Yukon exemplify the travel ‘bug’ that has so thoroughly bitten them both. Mr. and Mrs. Doehler now live off campus with three wonderful children, one dog, two cats, three rats, though they can count numerous adopted sons still on campus from their five years as Assistant Houseparents in Privett House.

Oliver Amiel

B.Sc. (McGill) Whittall Assistant Houseparent, Chemistry, Rugby, Strength and Conditioning

"Where are you from?" is an interesting question for Mr. Amiel and not one easily answered. Born on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, his family moved to Vancouver, then to Calgary, New Zealand, and back to the Sunshine Coast, all in 13 years. With a healthy amount of time spent in England over that same time period, Mr. Amiel was accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle when he landed at Brentwood in grade 8. He developed a love of science during his 5 years at Brentwood and moved on to live in Montreal and attend McGill for six years, where he studied a wide range of sciences, but found his greatest passion to be Chemistry. He promptly left Canada after graduation, moving to South Korea, where he taught English for one year, and then moved to Melbourne, Australia. He acquired his Diploma of Education there and worked at three schools over seven years. During that time, Mr. Amiel fell in love with the Australian High Country and the pursuit of outdoor activities. He returned to Canada in early in 2011 and met the love of his life, Robyn, that spring, whom he married in the summer of 2013. They now both live and work at Brentwood... with their son Gavin and dog Mya.

Neil Bryant

B.Sc. (Victoria) Chemistry, Science, Debating, Law

Teaching at a school like Brentwood has allowed for a broad population of students to be taught. Neil gets to enjoy instructing solubility a chemistry class, explaining torts in Law 12 class, then heading off talk about logical fallacies in debate class after lunch. Although little in his university bachelor's degree predicted this kind of diversity, he is truly grateful for the chance Brentwood affords him to teach students to look at the world through both molecular, moral, and critically-thought lenses. Occasionally, he also rides a bike for exercise.

Susanna Cheung Robinson

Susanna Cheung Robinson

B.Sc. (UBC), B.Ed. (Calgary), Houseparent MacKenzie House, Science, Metamorphosis 9

Susanna was born in Hong Kong but her family immigrated to Canada when she was 6 months old. She grew up in Calgary and was drawn to the West Coast and so attended UBC and completed a BSc majoring in Marine Biology and minoring in Psychology. After completing that degree she returned to Calgary and decided to go into the education field. Susanna completed the Education program at UofC and started working at a Charter school. She worked there from 2001 to 2011 with two breaks for maternity leaves (her two boys). Her love of the ocean and the outdoors has brought her and her family to the coast in 2011. She enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and SCUBA diving. Susanna could spend hours mucking about in the tide pools and the intertidal zone, or even just looking out her office window at the seals sunbathing on the docks.

David McCarthy

David McCarthy

M.A. (Cambridge University, U.K.) Director of Academics, Chemistry, Biology, BEAT supervisor

Raised in the industrial heartland of northwest England, David McCarthy took the road from Wigan Pier to Cambridge University where he studied biochemistry and applied biology. After teaching for seven years in his hometown, he and his Vancouver-born wife, Lisa, transplanted themselves to Brentwood in 1987. There, he coached rugby, taught biology and chemistry, and was a houseparent to the boys of Ellis House for the next 17 years. A year's sabbatical in 2005 gave him strength for the position of Director of Academics, a role which he held until 2015. He then moved into the newly created role of Director of Learning until July 2020. He continues to teach (AP) Biology and (AP) Environmental Science as a member of the science department and in his part-time teaching role now has more time for grandchildren and gardening.

Ron Neufeld

B.Sc. (University of Victoria) Privett Houseparent, Science, Teacher Liaision – Technology

The eldest of four brothers, Ron Neufeld developed the current model for all learning paradigms: children will believe anything you tell them, and this can be amusing. Realizing that tall tales would fare much better with the authority of science, Mr. Neufeld studied biochemistry at the University of Victoria where he also completed his professional teaching year. He joined the Brentwood faculty in 1999 as a science teacher. Since 2003, Mr. Neufeld - also known as Starship Commander - has been the houseparent of Privett House. He is currently owned by two cats, 50 Privett boys, 80 science students, a SmartBoard, and two computers. He is happily married to Lisa, a computer specialist, with whom he has a daughter and a son.

Josie Olszewski

B.Sc. (McGill), M.Sc. (SFU), Physics, Science

Josie Olszewski grew up in northern British Columbia before venturing to Montreal to attend McGill University for her undergraduate degree in Science with a major in physics. Her interest in experimental science and medicine led her to working with the Noble Gas Imaging Group on a project that worked on imaging human lungs with MRI techniques where she obtained her Master of Science. Armed with a passion for learning and a genuine interest in working with students, Josie arrived at Brentwood more than 10 years ago ready to teach. A highly qualified and respected physics teacher at Brentwood, she has also delivered high quality outdoor education to students. Josie has certifications in wilderness first aid, as a top-rope and indoor climbing instructor (ACMG), and she has extensive experience hiking, cycling and kayaking. Jose has a passion for experimental science and learning by doing, and implements both into her classroom. Her friendly presence and dedication to her students have been a major contributors to her success at the School.

Rick Rodrigues

Rick Rodrigues

B.Ed. (Manitoba) — Director of University Counselling, Physics

Mr. Rodrigues has been at Brentwood since 2002, another convert to West Coast living who arrived from Winnipeg where he had received his B.Ed. from the University of Manitoba. A man of many talents, Mr. Rodrigues can be found in the lab theatrically teaching the beauty of physics or in the University Counselling office passionately advising senior students in their post-secondary pursuits. Singer, actor, physicist, counsellor: Mr. Rodrigues is a true Renaissance man about the campus. Mr. Rodrigues lives in Privett House as the '3rd Man' with his lovely wife Jennifer and son Edward.

Debbie Sage

B.A. (Trent), Science Lab Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Rowing

Where else to develop a love of rowing but in St. Catharines, Ontario, where Debbie Sage spent her youth before moving to Trent University to continue rowing and earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in history and business. Joining the Brentwood rowing staff in 1997, Mrs. Sage also serves as the science lab technician, and Chair of the Brentwood Regatta. Considered one of the luckiest people on earth by her friends ("being paid to do something you love so much!"), Mrs. Sage spends her free time with her husband, Peter, and two children.

Katrina Tarrant

B.Sc. (WSU), RFA Allard House, Rowing 

Katrina Tarrant is originally from Creston, B.C., where she was introduced to the sport of rowing in 2010, and by 2012 she was part of the gold medal crew at CanAmEx. Katrina received a full rowing scholarship to Washington State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minoring in Sport Management with an emphasis in Kinesiology. In addition, she was on the PAC 12 First Academic team multiple years, and finished with a national ranking of 7th in 2015, and 11th in 2016. This is Katrina’s second year at Brentwood. She will continue to work as a coach with the Brentwood College Rowing team and Jr Girls Basketball team, provide administrative support in the Learning Centre, and remain as a Residential Faculty Advisor in Allard House. 

Jenna Warner

Jenna Warner

B.Sc., B.Ed. (University of Manitoba) Houseparent Alex House, Science, Field Hockey

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jenna Warner is a prairie girl at heart.  After earning her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Manitoba, she moved west to join the Brentwood community to teach science and biology and live on campus as a Resident Assistant. A sports fanatic from childhood, Ms. Warner plays basketball, badminton, soccer, but field hockey is her passion. She represented the University of Manitoba, and has played and coached field hockey at both the Western Canada Summer Games and Canada Summer Games. Ms. Warner is thrilled to be co-coaching Brentwood’s 1st XI field hockey team.

Creative Science and Engineering

Student work on a hover craft in creative sciemce

Offered as part of the Brentwood Arts progamme, this is a hands-on exploratory course in science and engineering. Students participate in a number of project-based activities such as designing and building bridges and earthquake-resistant skyscrapers, playing golf with trebuchets and catapults, launching water rockets, racing CO2-powered cars, building wind and wave power generation systems from scratch, working with VEX robotics, conducting entertaining chemistry experiments, participating in Brentwood's ocean environment monitoring program, and doing biological dissections. Students thinking about a career in science or engineering and who enjoy working in a team environment will enjoy this active class.

Science 9

This course consists of a number of disparate but complementary units. Biology introduces students to the central idea of DNA and its role in storing the genetic information that determines the activities of cells. The structure and function of cells and their organelles is examined and the role of the nucleus highlighted. The behaviour of chromosomes in cell division is linked to the cell cycle, mitosis and the causes of cancer. Asexual and sexual reproduction are compared and contrasted, together with the biotechnology and ethical issues behind therapeutic and reproductive cloning. Students are made aware of the various technologies such as in-vitro fertilization that are available to assist infertile couples.

Chemistry focuses on the structure of the atom and the development of the Bohr model and its application to the modern Periodic Table. Ionic and covalent bondings are studied as are the formulae of binary and polyatomic compounds.

In physics, the main topic is electricity, both static and current. Circuits with parallel and series components are constructed and studied and the concepts of voltage, resistance and current are taught involving calculations from which students derive important principles such Ohm’s law. Electrical energy, power and efficiency are discussed with relation to the world’s energy needs.

In space science, students identify and describe a range of instruments that are used in astronomy (e.g. telescopes, spectroscopes, satellites, probes, robotic devices) and study examples of how astronomers use astronomical and space exploration technologies to advance understanding of the universe and solar system (e.g. using red shift to support the idea of an expanding universe, using parallax to measure distance).

Science 10

All Grade 10 students cover the biology and chemistry units in half the year with one specialist teacher and the physics and earth science topics in the remaining half of the year with another specialist teacher. Many of the topics are integrated through fieldwork studies at nearby locations such as the estuary, beach and Mill Stream salmon run. An inquiry based, problem solving approach is encouraged wherever possible and students are introduced to the empirical nature of science by collecting and analysing their own data. In conjunction with the mathematics department, specific IT objectives are reached by having students handle and present data they have obtained through observation and measurement.

The biology unit covers an introduction to ecosystems and the factors that determine the sustainability of natural environments. Topics such as food chains, pyramids of biomass, succession and keystone species are investigated with particular reference to the estuarine environment. Students visit the Bamfield Marine Research Station on the West coast of the island for a 3 day field trip which involves a variety of lab and beach activities designed to complement and enhance the curriculum.

In chemistry, different types of chemical reactions are examined and described in terms of word and symbol equations. Isotopes and their importance in dating materials is described. Radioactivity of various kinds is described and related to their common sources. Problems associated with radioactivity are discussed and linked to the development of atomic weapons, cancer and atomic power. Motion is a major topic in physics with both uniform motion and acceleration described in terms of Newton’s Laws and simple equations. The course concludes with a consideration of energy transfer in natural systems, particularly weather and the movements of wind and water on a global scale. Tectonic plate theory, volcanism and seismic forces are also studied in this earth and space science section.

Life Sciences 11

A thorough understanding of biology provides students with a foundation for studies in ecology, the environment and medicine. To fully comprehend the science of biology, students must first familiarize themselves with classification systems and evolutionary theories. The origin of life according to the heterotroph hypothesis is followed by a study of the Monerans emphasizing bacteria. Protists, plants and animals are then studied in a sequence that depicts the evolutionary progression of life. The oceanfront campus provides a unique opportunity for students to examine a living marine environment.

AP Biology 11

This course represents the first year of Advanced Placement Biology, a two-year course leading to the AP Biology exam, and that gives credit for both Life Sciences 11 and Anatomy and Physiology 12. A solid understanding of the additional material taught in this course may provide students with first-year biology credit in university. The first term focus is a study of biochemistry, cells and cellular processes. The animal kingdom and evolutionary themes are explored in the second term. The year concludes with a study of heredity including classical genetics, DNA, protein synthesis and the regulation of the genome. Several labs will be completed throughout the year including experiments related to the study of biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Chemistry 11

Chemistry 11 is a survey course designed to provide a strong foundation for post-secondary science. The material covered in Grades 9 and 10 is thoroughly reviewed and followed by an intense study of stoichiometry. The fundamentals of organic chemistry are introduced in preparation for further studies at the university level. A unit on solution chemistry provides the basis for topics covered in Chemistry 12. To succeed in this course, students must be comfortable with algebra and have a firm grasp of the chemistry concepts taught in previous grades.

AP Chemistry 11

The course material matches the curriculum for Chemistry 11 prepared by the provincial government and often expands into additional areas of interest including the behaviour of gases. Students may be required to participate in national chemistry competitions such as the Avogadro exam. A solid understanding of this course helps students who study biology, medicine, physics or engineering. The AP option moves at a faster pace to allow for extra units such as redox chemistry to be included in order to allow time for AP material in Grade 12.

Physics 11

The study of Physics 11 provides students with the foundations for post-secondary physical sciences, astronomy and engineering. Topics from both classical and modern physics are covered in this survey course. These topics include motion, energy, waves, optics and special relativity. Additional topics such as quantum mechanics and nuclear physics may also be examined. The diversity of this material helps students to further their understanding of the technical world in which they live and prepares them for the rigorous Physics 12 course. This course best suits students with a firm understanding of mathematics.

AP Physics 11

AP Physics 11 lays the foundation for students to pursue algebra-based, introductory college-level studies in physics. Topics will include: Newtonian mechanics, work & energy, momentum & impulse, and many more. Only serious science and mathematics students with strong academic credentials should consider the AP option over regular Physics 11.


A robot

Offered as part of the Brentwood Arts progamme, Robotics will provide students with an introduction to the world of robotics using VEX Robotics technology. This is very much a ‘hands-on’ course, where they will learn most concepts through investigative activities.  Students are exposed to the engineering process as they design, build, and program robots to solve a variety of problems.  Good problem solving skills are essential, as is the ability to work effectively on a team.  As a member of a 3-person ‘engineering firm’, students will develop skills in problem solving, communication, presentation, organization, time management, research, self-assessment, and leadership.

This course will also expose students to some of the contemporary happenings in robotics, including current robot lab research and applications.

Anatomy & Physiology 12

A thorough understanding of biology provides students with a foundation for studies in ecology, the environment and medicine. Anatomy & Physiology 12 is an in-depth coverage of human biology. Topics include biochemistry, cell structure and function, and circulatory, digestive, excretory, nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems in the human body. The curriculum may include discussion of many medical issues and emerging biotechnology.

AP Biology 12

Advanced Placement Biology is a two-year course that gives credit for both Life Sciences 11 and Anatomy and Physiology 12. A solid understanding of the additional, in-depth material taught in this course may provide students with first-year biology credit in university. Successful completion of the Advanced Placement Biology 11 program is a prerequisite for this course. Only serious science students with strong academic credentials should consider the AP option. In the second year of the course (12AP) students travel to the Bamfield Marine Research Station on the West coast of the island to study ecology through a variety of field and laboratory projects. The remainder of the first term is a study of human body systems before moving on in the second term to look at biology of plants and their evolution. Other advanced topics such as population genetics and the immune system are explored before a comprehensive review is conducted prior to the Advanced Placement exam in May.

Chemistry 12

This course is designed for students who intend to pursue physical science or engineering in university. Chemistry 12 is a physical chemistry course concentrating on quantitative and qualitative analysis of chemical equilibria. Reaction mechanisms, solubility products, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction reactions, and electrochemistry are all addressed in this curriculum. Although different in content, this material builds on the concepts covered in Chemistry 11. In addition, a thorough understanding of algebra will be required in this course because of its significant mathematical component.

AP Chemistry 12

AP Chemistry 12 covers all of the curriculum for both the provincial Chemistry 12 syllabus and the additional topics required for the AP syllabus. The latter includes some of the material and background developed in Chemistry 11 but also topics such as thermodynamics, entropy and enthalpy, free energy and the relationship of changes in these quantities to chemical reactions. Reaction kinetics is treated at a higher level and linked mathematically and empirically to reaction mechanisms. Acid–base chemistry and redox chemistry also receive more in-depth treatment as do the concepts of bonding and equilibrium.

Physics 12

This course is designed for students who intend to pursue physical sciences, astronomy or engineering in university. Physics 12 covers a broad range of classical physics material including kinematics and dynamics in multiple dimensions, circular motion and dynamics, gravity, statics and electromagnetism.

This integrated course requires a thorough understanding of Physics 11 and an aptitude for mathematics. Due to the emphasis on problem solving – both on theoretical problems and in the laboratory – the course is challenging to some students.

AP Physics 12

AP Physics 12 continues the work from AP Physics 11, adding the following topics to students' physics tool-kits: waves and sound; rotational motion; fluid statics and dynamics; thermodynamics with kinetic theory; PV diagrams and probability; electrostatics; electrical circuits with capacitors; magnetic fields; electromagnetism; physical and geometric optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics.

Only serious science and mathematics students with strong academic credentials should consider the AP option. This exposure to physics ideas will equip students with a level of depth and breadth that regular Physics 12 alone cannot provide. As such, students will have an unparalleled level of preparation for studies in physical science and engineering. In order to cover all of the material for this broadly based course, students must be prepared to learn concepts at an accelerated rate. 

Geology 12

In Geology 12 students learn about the physical environment of the Earth through a variety of means including the examination of rocks and natural features, both in the classroom and in the field. Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks are explained and compared in terms of their formation and composition. The Earth’s resources are considered in terms of mineral deposits, coal, petroleum and natural gas and their economic significance in our changing world. The development of the Geological Time Scale is explained and discussed with reference to relative and absolute age dating techniques and the fossil record. Plate tectonics and a study of the Earth’s internal processes is a key part of the course in explaining ancient and modern phenomena such as continental drift, mountain building, earthquakes and volcanic activity. The surface processes and the hydrosphere are also considered together with the features and processes associated with weathering, different types of erosion and glaciations. The course has strong links to both the Physical Geography 12 curriculum and AP Environmental Science.

AP Environmental Science 12

A broad understanding of the basic principles of ecology and the physical and chemical systems of our planet underpins this course which then goes on to explore contemporary issues within this context. Students are encouraged to research and debate the latest data on climate change, desertification, habitat loss and species extinction. Projects focus on solutions to minimize the negative impacts of poor environmental practices on ecosystems. Students are also encouraged to take an active role in the Brentwood Environmental Action Team and to participate in field trips.

Competitive Robotics

Offered as part of the Brentwood Arts progamme, this course will consider the design, construction and programming of both actively controlled mobile robots, as well as autonomous machines incorporating sensor feedback systems, employing the VEX Robotics and Cortex microcontroller platform and RobotC programming software.

Students will work primarily in small design teams, with the ultimate goal of challenging each other, as well as teams from other schools and jurisdictions in recognized robotics competitions.

While no previous experience with VEX and RobotC is required, students that have taken Robotics at Brentwood will be given preference, and will find this course a great opportunity to use their prior experience with VEX and unleash their creativity in problem-solving for this year’s robotics competition challenge. Self-motivation and interest in robotic systems as well as basic programming skills are recommended.

Science & Ethics 11

This course is a broad-ranging discussion and research based study of issues that arise from the development of technologies. Students adopt an ethical perspective. They are encouraged to challenge and debate accepted positions in areas such as biomedical and computer technology. The nature of ethics and value systems are analyzed as well as the premises behind scientific thought.

Pseudoscience, logical fallacies and the relationship between science and the media are also discussed and illustrated through a variety of case studies.

AP Psychology 12

Psychologists are interested in every aspect of human thought and behaviour. This focus explains why there are more than a dozen sub-fields of contemporary psychology. AP Psychology 12 introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of various topics: History and Approaches, Research Methods, Memory, Biological Bases of Behavior, Sensation and Perception, States of Consciousness, Learning, Thinking and Language, Motivation and Emotion, Developmental Psychology, Personality, Testing and Individual Differences, Abnormal Psychology, Treatment of Psychological Disorders, and Social Psychology. As students investigate normal and abnormal perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and actions through textbook readings, demonstrations and labs, they will learn and employ the scientific methods used by psychologists as well as work to meet the AP College Board outcomes for this quick paced course. They will learn to think with a psychological lens—with curiosity, skepticism, and humility. Students will expand their understanding of themselves and the people around them. Whether they choose to pursue a career in psychology or in some entirely different field, this course should enable students to recognize psychological principles encountered in everyday situations, and to apply the concepts to explore their own lives.

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