Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Tennessee, Vols Teach Program
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Field Experiences through VolsTeach
I graduated from Collierville High School in 2009 and entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville that fall. I knew that I wanted to study biology, but did not know which concentration until my sophomore year. After taking a few prerequisite courses, I realized I wanted to concentrate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. I declared my sophomore year of college. I knew that I did not want to be a doctor or do research, typical careers with a biology degree so I began to look into teaching. I found the VolsTeach program and signed up for the introductory course. They immediately put you into field experiences to let you know if teaching is right for you. After that course, I knew that I wanted to teach high school biology and have been in the program ever since.
Why do you want to teach:
When I was in high school, I had a wonderful biology teacher. She inspired me in the class and is the reason why I love biology now. She made the class interesting and fun for me and that drew me to continue to study biology in my college career. I want to be that kind of a teacher for students now. I want to inspire and encourage students to reach their full potential and to do the things they want to do. I want to open them up to the world of science. For those students who go on to study science, especially biology, I want them to look back and say “I’m so glad I took her class” just how I did with my high school teacher.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
During my first semester with the VolsTeach program, we were doing field experiences in the elementary school. My teammates and I were teaching about the states of matter (solid, liquid and gas). The students were very engaged and enjoyed the lesson. Near the end of one of our discussions, one student ask “What about fire? What state of matter is fire?” My teammates and I looked at each other and had to laugh a little. This student was very smart and reflected the curiosity of the classroom. While this question was difficult to answer in an elementary school classroom, it encouraged me that a lesson I taught made the students think beyond the lesson. They were interested and wanted to know more, which is what I was most nervous about teaching. I am thankful for that experience to know that I can make a difference in a student’s thinking and get them to think outside of the box in the classroom.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program and VolsTeach have made monumental differences for me in my college career. VolsTeach courses and staff have helped me to find the path to my future career and have molded me along the way to make me a better educator. The Noyce program has also helped eliminate worries about monetary issues so I can focus my attentions on my schoolwork.