Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: A.B. in Physics, Harvard University (1988) M.S. in Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1990)
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: I teach physics to juniors and seniors, and I also teach physical science.
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Noyce Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
The University of Georgia, Gwinnett Campus, PACS Program
Current academic or teaching status:
I have been a full-time teacher for 9 years.
School and school district:
I work for the Fernbank Science Center, a unit of the DeKalb County Public Schools, Decatur, GA.
I have been interested in both experimental physics and in teaching
ever since I was an undergraduate student.
I received a grant during the summer before my senior year that allowed me to work in one of the physics labs, and I fell in love with the job. We students frequently had to teach each other how to do different operations in the lab, and I really enjoyed that part of the job.
I also did a lot of tutoring at a large public high school near campus.
After graduate school, my wife and I came to Atlanta, and I worked for over a decade as a research engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology, designing and building experimental apparatus, working
with graduate students, writing academic papers, and working with several local companies to perform engineering research geared towards product development. This practical background in the subject really enlivens my classes by providing me with lots of examples of how real people actually use this scientific knowledge
to solve problems, support their families, and increase our knowledge of the world.
I have taught in our local public school system for almost ten years at
a dedicated science education facility, Fernbank Science Center. We teach science at all grade levels, but I focus mostly on
high school physics and middle school physical science.
Why do you want to teach:
I love working with students and sharing the beautiful patterns of our
universe with them. Since I have a lot of hands-on experience with scientific instrumentation and research, I can show the students how the concepts are applied in the real world, and I really enjoy that. Most of all, however, I think I am really good
at explaining abstract concepts and basic phenomena in ways that are accessible to kids!
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
As I travel around our county schools, I have the benefit of being a
fresh face to many students. One of my favorite teaching examples occurred as I completed a day of physical science outreach programs.
One of the guys actually came back after school was over to thank me, saying, “I never realized any of this stuff was actually interesting!” My goal is to keep our kids curious and interested, and to
teach them a lot of science along the way!
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce fellowship has allowed me to pursue certification when I would otherwise not have been able to do it due to family and financial constraints. The program has given me access to a fascinating group of experienced teachers, educators from other school systems, college students, and I have really benefited from the exposure to the variety of perspectives. An essential feature of
the UGA program is that it has allowed me to continue working full-time while I completed the necessary coursework!