Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Biology, Law
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Westport High School, Kansas City, Missouri
I currently serve as Dean of the Legislative School and as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Legion Missouri Boys State. I was a candidate in nine elections for alderman, state representative, and state senator. I currently practice law in Blue Springs, Missouri. I graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1995. I am licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri. I also worked as a senior officer at Bank One Corporation in Chicago as a Technology Program Manager. I served as President and CEO of the Blue Springs Historical Society, Inc. for six years. In the past, I was also active in the Blue Springs School District and a number of non-profit organizations, including the United Way of Greater Kansas City.
Why do you want to teach:
I frequently substitute taught in the early 1980s in the Blue Springs, Fort Osage, and Grain Valley School Districts in Missouri. A teacher at Blue Springs High School once told me that she specifically requested me to take her classes. She said she knew I would teach the curriculum, and she would not have to catch the class up when she returned. I substituted frequently then.
I am an instructor at the American Legion Missouri Boys State, an intensive eight-day leadership program for boys completing their junior year of high school. I have taught there for 20 years. As dean of one of the six schools at the program, I am responsible for teaching the legislative process. My volunteer staff and I also help the citizens operate their House and Senate after they are elected to the legislature. The House and Senate operate as close to the real Missouri chambers as a one-week program will permit. The citizen/student experience involves election of officers, bill writing, committee hearings, floor work, conference committees, and more. Basically, it covers everything the Missouri legislature does. The great majority of high schools in the state participate in the program. Unfortunately, urban schools tend to be poorly represented. The program also offers college credit from the University of Central Missouri, where the program is held, for citizens who qualify. I am an avid reader of scientific information and about the progress of science in general. I try to keep abreast of happenings with NASA, gene therapy, evolution, archeology, astrophysics, and other areas, when I have time.
I enjoy doing all of the things mentioned a lot more than I now enjoy the practice of law. Because of that, I decided to work at something that combines many of the things I enjoy doing in my spare time and maybe I can motivate more urban students to attend Boys State at the same time.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Without hesitation, the most memorable thing about teaching is when a student confirms how much they have learned and that they even enjoyed being in your class.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
It allows me to work part-time and be a full-time student. Without it, I most likely would not have started on this endeavor to change careers.