Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Biology and Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology/Science, grades 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
Arizona State University, TEAMS Program
Current academic or teaching status:
BS and MS in Biology; working on M.Ed.
School and school district:
Brimhall Junior High, Mesa School District
I returned to school in 2004 after my father passed away. He was the longest living artificial heart recipient (HeartMate LVAD), and was proud to be a pioneer for this state-of-the-art device. My father’s determination to live, and his desire to help others extend their lives inspired me to learn more about heart disease and health related issues. His example awakened an interest in me for science in general and biology in particular. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Biology and Society from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Barrett Honors College at Arizona State (ASU) in 2008. While completing a master’s degree in biology, I taught several semesters of an introductory laboratory course at ASU. This was a very rewarding experience, and caused me to reevaluate my future career path and consider science education as my new goal. In 2010, I was awarded the Graduate and Professional Student Association Teaching Excellence Award. My master’s thesis centered on student self-efficacy, enhanced reasoning ability, and overall academic achievement in college science students. I am thrilled at the prospect of teaching biology at the secondary education level following my anticipated graduation date of June 2012.
Why do you want to teach:
I would like to teach because I hope to be effective and inspirational to students in their developing an interest in science, continuing their education beyond the high school level, and becoming involved in science careers.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
My mentor teacher demonstrated a memorable teaching experience that I will not soon forget. As part of her lesson on classroom rules and behavior, she presented a poster titled, “Skills For Life,” which included five goals: truth, trust, respect, active involvement and personal best. She showed a short film of vocalist Aretha Franklin performing her hit song, “Respect.” Afterward she distributed a “Respect Contract” handout and asked the students to record their thoughts of what they believe respect looks, sounds and feels like. Some questions posed to the students included: “If you were being respectful, what would others see you doing?” “If you were being respectful, what would others be able to hear? “If you were being respectful, how would others feel?” The flip side of this document included the words, “I Pledge to be Respectful by…” and included lines for the students to write ways they will be respectful in class. A line for their signature and date was included on the bottom of that page. As the students completed each section, they were able to share their thoughts about each of the senses and how they would demonstrate respect in these ways. I was amazed at how this exercise instantly changed the tone of the class as a whole. I can easily understand how the students were able to create an indelible image of “respect” in their minds after completing this exercise—not only by spelling the word through the lyrics of Aretha Franklin’s song, but by a memorable, in-depth personal experience of the word.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
As a returning graduate student pursuing a master’s degree and teacher certification in the TEAMS graduate program, I would not have been able to follow this course of study without the Starr Noyce Scholarship award. The downturn of the economy has caused immense hardship and loss of income for my family. Among the few positive indicators we have enjoyed recently are the prospects that will follow my current studies. With a great deal of gratitude, I am looking forward to being able to realize this goal with the help of the Noyce program.