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Tessa Viljamaa

math, physics & chemistry instructor

For much of my teenage years, the only thing I knew about my dream job was that it would involve my favorite subject, math. I took math classes 2 grades ahead of my own starting in middle school and joined my friend’s math team in 8th grade. We competed together in the then-yearly Washington State Math Championship until we graduated high school, achieving our best result in our senior year: 4th Best Team.


My passion for physics came from my excellent high school physics teacher, Mr. Murdock. He always encouraged discussion and loved to teach according to the Socratic method, asking questions to help us reach the answer by our own critical thinking. I participated in my school’s science fair as part of his class and went on to continue my research in sympathetic resonance the next year, receiving 2nd place in the Physics and Astronomy category at the state fair both years.


After middle and high school here in Washington, I moved to Finland, my country of birth, to study physics and mathematics at the University of Jyväskylä. During my time there, I worked as a teacher’s assistant, a research trainee in an experimental particle physics collaboration, and a medical physicist trainee helping plan radiation treatment for cancer patients. I also worked as a research trainee at the Research Center for Nuclear Physics at Osaka University during my student exchange in Japan.

I recently moved back to the Seattle area to be with my family and am currently doing long-distance work on my graduate-level theses in computational nuclear physics and the calculus of variations. As I work on those this school year, I look forward to helping and inspiring students to develop their skills here at Archimedes. I personally know how valuable that can be!

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