Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Physics
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Physics, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Minnesota
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Laura Jeffrey Academy, St. Paul, MN
I have a B.S. in physics with emphasis areas in astrophysics and biology. I’ve had direct experience conducting laboratory research in biophysics and specialized in operating optical equipment and coding scripts for database searches. I’ve been involved with PhysTEC, getSTEM and Project Lead The Way. My current teaching assignment is at a girl-focused, year-round STEM charter school in St. Paul, MN.
Why do you want to teach:
Schools in Minnesota predict a massive shortage of high school physics teachers in the coming years. This is a trend that is observed throughout the country as well. Many students and schools are faced with the challenging prospect of not having enough qualified physics teachers for the next generation of learners. As someone who has heard too many stories of high school physics class nightmares, I feel that I can make a real difference by being the physics teacher that these students need. Armed with high-level physics knowledge and sound teaching practice, I can help students achieve the proficiency they need and deliver the excitement about physics that they love.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
At Patrick Henry High School (Minneapolis, MN), there was a student of mine who would always come into class with an amazingly positive attitude and strong work ethic. What surprised me is that this student struggled a great deal with the material; factors both inside and outside of the classroom made digging deep into science concepts particularly challenging for him. Nevertheless, this student demanded that I help him understand the concepts we studied, and visits after school for more one-on-one time were a common occurrence. At one point during the year, I asked him how he could maintain such a positive attitude amidst so much adversity. His response was frank: “Physics is important, because it’s how I can get from where I am now to where I want to be.” It reminded me of how important it is to be a teacher, because the students need strong teachers who can provide them with the tools they need to empower themselves and advance their knowledge.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Quite frankly, the Noyce Program is one of the main reasons why I have become a teacher today. Without the support of the program, both in the form of grants and advisors, my ability to become an effective teacher would be severely hampered. The IMPACT Scholarship made my training and education financially possible, and the continued support of my advisors over the course of my licensure training and into my first teaching experience gave me the confidence I needed to succeed as an effective teacher and begin impacting the lives of students from day one.