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Piotr Derus

Piotr Derus

Physics and Astronomy, 2009

Recently I returned to Poland, the country where I was born. Currently I am the science department coordinator at the British International School in Gdansk, Poland. I was employed in order to establish the high school science department in the school. That included writing up assessment policies, choosing the curriculum and exam boards that students now follow, purchasing all the equipment and textbooks, and providing my colleague with on the job training so that she is able to teach the program.

Since graduating from York I travelled around the world teaching physics in different countries. I taught in the UK, United Arab Emirates, and now Poland. I enjoy volunteering on a number of fronts. It gives my life more purpose.

Most recently I worked with an organization called "Polska2050". I helped with providing food and clothes to migrants on the Polish-Belarussian border.
I offer free online physics lessons to less fortunate students on Tuesday evenings. I do this via ZOOM.

I am a volunteer with a nation-wide organization called "Szlachetna Paczka". The organization receives tips from churches, schools, social services, and neighbours about families in need. Volunteers are sent to determine what are the needs of the families who are referred to us. Volunteers also serve as middlemen between families and potential donors. I am currently taking care of a single mother and her kids. She recently freed herself and her children from an abusive relationship with the father. COVID and Brexit conspired to have a catastrophic impact on the family as it meant that she lost her job. She is trying to re-establish order in the life of her family as her savings dwindle. I have been able to organize donors that will provide beds, a dining room table, winter clothes for the family, food, Christmas gifts for the children, and training for the mother so that she is able to return to work in a different field.
This past summer I obtained a 10,000€ grant from the EU in order to establish an accessibility program for people with Crohn's disease in Poland (that includes me). The program is called "Crohns Card" and it is being modelled on Canada's "GOHERE™ WASHROOM ACCESS PROGRAM" run by Crohn's and Colitis Canada. If successful, the program could potentially improve the quality of life of about 50,000 sufferers nationwide.

I remember my time at York and at Bethune very fondly. I recommend York to all my students, at least one of which is currently at York studying computer science. Though I never lived on Campus (my family lived near campus), I participated in a number of Wednesday evening astronomy sessions, slept on the couch in Professor Paul Delaney's office more than once, and continue to consider many of my former professors as worthy of admiration and sources of inspiration, including Marko Horbatsch, Roman Koniuk, Wendy Taylor, William van Wijngaarden, and of course Stanislaw Jerzak (who had something of a cult following in my day).