Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Current academic or teaching status:
12 years teaching
School and school district:
Bryan High School, Omaha Public Schools
I am originally from La Vista, NE. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and my master’s from University of Nebraska-Omaha. I have been teaching at Bryan High School in Omaha for 12 years. I enjoy reading, cooking, and crafts.
Why do you want to teach:
I grew up attending public schools in the small cities of South Sioux City, NE, Moultrie, GA, and Marshalltown, IA. Throughout my education, I enjoyed school. I grew up knowing the value of education and never doubting that I would attend college, despite the fact that neither of my parents had the opportunity to attend. After graduating from South Sioux City High School in 1995, I was thrilled to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After graduating in 1999, I started working at Omaha Bryan High School. Having lived in small towns and attended a small high school, I felt at first that I was too “small town” for Omaha. I had grown up with teachers who knew my parents long before I was their student and in a community that rallied around the local schools. While this was not the environment I found myself in during the course of my teaching assignment, I soon came to realize that the students I was teaching were not so different from those I grew up with. Students want the full high school experience – friends, activities, and learning. I had great math teachers who encouraged me as a mathematician and made learning math fun and interesting. I wanted to be one of those math teachers!
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Early in my career, I was told that I would be getting two visually impaired students in my geometry class. My first thought was, geometry is visual – how do I pull this off? Both girls had very limited vision and needed accommodations to follow along with class activities. It soon became obvious to me that beyond the vision limits, these students had no limits! One, in particular, rose to the top of the class very quickly. I learned to continually rethink, rephrase, and revise my explanations to go beyond what could be seen with our eyes. These students opened my perspective to pushing beyond and thinking beyond any perceived limits. I learned as much about teaching as the students did about geometry.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
I love to learn and believe I will be a lifelong learner. The experience of being a student and being challenged in the classroom makes me a better teacher in several ways. Not only am I honing my own skills in teaching and in mathematics, but I am reminded of how it feels to be on the other side of the desk. It is easy to forget the feeling of struggling to grasp new concepts or the challenges of managing the demands on limited amounts of time and energy. Being a student reminds me of these challenges and helps me to meet the needs of all learners – from those who need to be challenged mathematically to those who need large amounts of assistance and encouragement to be successful.