Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Biology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, grades 9-12; Science & Math, grades 6-9
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
Current academic or teaching status:
5th Year Teaching Candidate/Student Teacher
School and school district:
Valor Middle School, French Prairie Middle School, Woodburn High School
I was born and raised in the Willamette Valley, and subsequently spent 11 years living in several other areas of the United States. A good portion of my life has been spent volunteering in various capacities with inner city outreach in Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland and Phoenix, and internationally in Kenya. While I loved those experiences, Oregon will always be my home, and I still enjoy the challenge of working in outreach and teaching my sons to appreciate every gift we have been given by giving back to our local community.
Why do you want to teach:
I love, love, LOVE science and learning about the natural world, and feel passionately that if kids can succeed within math and the sciences, they can accomplish virtually anything! I also love that the heart and survival of science depends upon continual inquiry and the challenging of even our most ardently held beliefs. As a teacher, I get to ask challenging questions for a living, as well as help students understand that making mistakes can often result in amazing discoveries. Learning has never been an easy process for me, but I’ve realized that sometimes the best teachers are those who have struggled the most within their content area. If I can spend my career helping other struggling students overcome their fears and succeed in something they are passionate about, especially something so challenging like math and science, then I consider myself truly fortunate.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
With limited experience teaching science in the classroom thus far, what I can share is the experience that ultimately helped me decide this program was right for me. The week I decided to change paths and apply for this program, I first asked my sons what they thought about my becoming a science and math teacher. My eldest, with a pained expression, replied “No offense, Mom, but I don’t think you’d make a very good teacher.” When I asked why he felt that way, he responded, “Because, whenever I ask you for help, you first make me read the book, and walk through all the steps and try to figure it out on my own, instead of just giving me the answers! Oh, I guess you’d make a good teacher, after all.” I considered that a pretty strong confirmation that I was headed in the right direction.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Without funding from the Noyce Scholarship, attending graduate school would not have been a reality for me now, or even within the near future. Having teenagers at home means sacrificing a great deal in order to get them on their own path to higher education, and after having finally attaining my undergraduate degree relatively late in life, I felt it was important to put aside any additional personal aspirations until my children were through college. If not for a dear friend bringing this amazing program to my attention, I would have missed out on an incredible opportunity! The Noyce program has allowed me to integrate my passion for the sciences, with the technology needed for 21st Century educators, and combined that with a holistic teaching program taught by incredible and supportive faculty who have truly changed my life! I will be forever grateful for the doors this scholarship has opened for me and cannot recommend this program strongly enough for anyone wishing to become a STEM teacher.