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90 Seconds With Dr. Austin
Grace Russell '21 Staff Writer
January 30, 2019
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Credit: Natasha Leong

Is there a story behind your name or anyone in your family’s name?

“I come from a family of Johns. My father’s name was John Edward. My family calls me John Peter, our son’s name is John Alexander, and my brother-in-law is John Fouad.  Family gatherings can be challenging.”

What is your favorite animal?

“Olive, our wirehaired Dachshund and Zeitoun and Zaatar, our Jordanian rescue cats (all soon-to-be Deerfield residents).”

Italian food or Chinese food?

“Both. I am an enthusiastic and equal-opportunity eater.”

What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to high schoolers today?

“Find things you love doing; be open to new ideas, new experiences, and new people. Work hard and persevere. Read. Be a good friend.”

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

“Mushroom and eggplant.”

If your life was made into a movie, what would the title be and who would play you?

“Tough question. “Schooled?”  Not sure what actor would be tempted. It might be a little slow-paced, and probably is not likely to be a box office hit…”

What is the coolest place you have ever traveled to?

“Scuba diving, fifty meters deep in the Red Sea off Ras Mohammed National Park in Sinai, Egypt with my wife, Ms. Matouk.”

What aspect of Deerfield are you most looking forward to?

“The people—and returning to

Western MA.”

What is your favorite book?

“Impossible to answer! Here are my favorite reads of the last six months: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai; Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward; A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.”

What was your favorite class in high school?

“Mr. Speers’ grade 11 English.”

What is one thing about you that very few people know?

“Once upon a time I was an avid skateboarder and surfer.  Now I paddle board.”

What is your favorite sports team?

“UNC Tar Heels and Liverpool F.C.”

Where did you grow up?

“Kitty Hawk—the Outer Banks of North Carolina.”