When Austin ISD teacher Joy Lin was growing up, she knew she had a passion for education. However, she did not know that her work would lead her to international recognition.
Today, Joy Lin has been recognized globally for her TED-Ed series, Tedx Talk, eight children's science books, annual lectures including San Diego Comic Con, and most recently as the recipient of the Outstanding Young Persons Award by Junior Chamber International in Taiwan.
Lin is an Austin State Hospital special education math and science teacher for the district.
She was awarded the Outstanding Young Persons Award by Junior Chamber International in Taiwan. She joins an exclusive club of people who have ever received this honor, including Hollywood star Jackie Chan, who won the award in 1992.
She began to gain recognition for her TED-Ed series “If Superpowers were real”, incorporating math and sciences with superheroes and powers connecting with children on a deeper level.
Lin's TED-Ed videos have accumulated over 14 million views and are still growing by 100,000 views per year by educators worldwide.
Lin grew up in Taiwan, where she excelled at school. She skipped the sixth grade, putting her in seventh grade at the age of nine. Being the youngest in the class, Lin was often bullied.
"I was bullied because I was two to three years younger than my peers yet acted more mature and reasonable than they did because that's how my mom raised me," Lin said.
She moved to the United States shortly afterward, finishing high school in three years. After graduating high school, Lin took her studies to the University of Texas, graduating in 2005.
"Initially, I was pre-med. However, after an anatomy class, which I later learned was a dissection class, I realized I didn't have the stomach to go into the medical field," Lin said.
Lin decided to become a teacher. She began at a juvenile detention center, where she discovered a new way to get her students excited about the sciences.
Lin used students' favorite superheroes and incorporated their superhero powers into a science lesson.
This new teaching method took off, and before Lin knew it, she began creating animated TED-Ed videos that analyzed the issues one would encounter if one were to gain superpowers.
"For instance, any time we're invisible from within, our eyes wouldn't be able to catch the light either, so we'd be blind," she said. "No matter how big The Incredible Hulk grows or how small The Ant-Man shrinks, conservation of mass tells us they're always about 200 lbs, which raises a slew of issues."
Lin was nominated for "Lessons Worth Sharing" by Kohl's Cares and TED-Ed. After being named as one of the 18 most inspirational educators in the United States, her TED-Ed videos were published as a series.
Today, Lin continues to be recognized by educators worldwide.
She has dedicated her life's work to making science and math curriculums fun and interesting for students and hopes to raise awareness for mental health as well as free resources of TED-Ed videos.
"My life mission is to reach as many science teachers as possible to make the curriculum more interesting and engaging," Lin said. "If we make our curriculum more interesting by incorporating popular culture, we could spark the desire to learn from our youngsters, and the possibilities are endless. The curriculum is out there, and I poured my heart and soul into everything. I want more people to be aware of these videos and books."