Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Chemistry
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Chemistry, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of California, Santa Cruz
Current academic or teaching status:
Master's program (1 year long)
School and school district:
Interned at Aptos High School
I grew up in Santa Cruz County and live here still. After working in real estate financing for several years, I decided to return to school to pursue a budding passion: science. In school I narrowed my interest down to chemistry, and recently graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) with a Bachelor’s in Science degree. I currently live in the Santa Cruz mountains with my wife and our two-year-old son.
Why do you want to teach:
During my two years at Cabrillo College (before I transferred to UCSC), I experienced teaching for the first time. I had done quite well in Chemistry 1B, and the following semester the instructor asked if I would lead a supplemental instruction course. These “SI sessions” are set up through a program called ACCESS (through UCSC), that is intended to help students bridge the gap between junior college and 4 year universities.
I decided to give it a try, had a great time, and ended up teaching it for a full year. I also worked in the chemistry stock room and was the T.A. for a introductory biology course. During my education at UCSC, I got to work in a lab with a graduate student doing actual research. While it was an amazing opportunity, it also helped me to see that I would probably grow tired of doing that type of work over time. Another big reason I do not want to work in industry is that I prefer not to be exposed to the chemicals every day, especially with small children at home. I decided to look into teaching again, and found the CalTeach program at UCSC to be amazing. I interned at Aptos High in a science class and had a great time. Working with kids is a lot of fun, and I have found that I just love the teaching/learning aspect of chemistry more than the actual application in a laboratory.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
My time interning at Aptos high was a very memorable experience, because I got to see what it is really like in a science classroom these days. I graduated high school over 15 years ago, so it had been a while since I had experienced it firsthand. My host teacher, Larry Johnson, is great at his job, and I learned a lot from watching him. Not only did I get to see how he relates the information to the students, I also got to witness the way he deals with discipline. Overall it was a very informative and rewarding experience.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Simply put, the Noyce program has made it possible for me to complete my goal of becoming a chemistry teacher. Without the help from the Noyce scholarship I would have an extremely hard time affording the certification program, and I am so grateful for the help! I haven’t had any interaction with the Noyce program yet (other than being informed that I have received the scholarship), but I look forward to the support and mentoring that will be provided to me as I continue down the path toward a career in teaching.