Noyce Scholar Profile
Karen Maureen Clifford
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: M. Ed.
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Science, 4-8
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
Our Lady of the Lake University
Current academic or teaching status:
6th year teaching, 2nd year teaching currently teaching science.
School and school district:
Nimitz S.T.E.M. Academy, San Antonio, Tx. NEISD
I received my Bachelor of Music late in life, and did not know I was going to teach. I was given an opportunity to teach at a Charter School. I taught music for 4 years, and in the meantime, received my Master of Education in Science. I quit teaching, did my student teaching and then I was hired at the STEM Academy, at Nimitz Middle School in San Antonio, Texas.
Why do you want to teach:
I had spent half of my life working in the medical field, but still something was missing in my life. I had not finished my Bachelor’s degree and knew I had to do something to change my life. I quit working, went back to school, and finished. I had no idea what I was going to do when I graduated and I did not care, I just wanted that degree. I found a job teaching music, and knew after the first week, there was nothing else I would rather do. I wanted to do something in my life that really matters to me and this was it!! I then went on to get a Master’s Degree. I decided on Science, and really like middle school. I now have an awesome job teaching 6th grade STEM science and have opportunities to make a difference in kids lives, as well as my own!!
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Keeping kids engaged is always a challenge. Getting ALL 115 students engaged throughout the day is a HUGE challenge. I was doing a lesson where I turned out the lights in the classroom, and the kids had headlamps on. We were doing a unit on geology.
The kids were mining “mock rocks”. As the day went by, I was amazed!! In every single class, every single student was engaged, having fun, and learning! All I could hear was the tapping of their toothbrushes as they were hammering out their minerals from the mock rocks. All you could see were the little lights from their head lamps!! This day stood out for me because ALL my students enjoyed their day and had so much fun learning! I had just as much fun teaching!
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
This program made it possible for me to change my life! Without it, I would not have been able to end up where I am now. Not only has it changed my life, but now I can change the lives of others.