Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mechanical Engineering
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Mathematics, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
Texas Tech University
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Lubbock-Cooper High School
I graduated in the Top 10 in my high school class as a football player and track runner with an interest in physics and mathematics. In my first year of college, I pursued a degree in mechanical engineering at New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, while working as a graphics designer and playing rugby and running for recreation.
I transferred to Texas Tech, took on several tutoring jobs and realized I could teach, but also wanted to be an engineer. My athletic interests shifted from team sports to endurance sports (running, cycling, and triathlon), and I became a personal trainer as well. Personal training and tutoring convinced me to enter the field of education, and I saw the most potential benefit in teaching high school math. I am now a summer and a term from graduating and entering the field as a secondary mathematics educator.
Why do you want to teach:
Through various jobs, I have learned that I am at my personal best when I am helping others understand–whether its procedures for excellent food service, proper techniques to develop a lifetime of fitness, or strategies to solve word problems about differential calculus. Teaching seems a natural extension of my skill set, and mathematics, combined with the real-world applications found in physics, chemistry, and engineering, excites me intellectually. I feel that I can not only illuminate abstract topics in early mathematics, but that I can transfer my enthusiasm to students who have never seen the wonders that math can explain and create.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
In the previous school year, I was a contracted physics tutor for a local high school. During that year, I developed relationships with small groups of students that left them comfortable enough to really discuss their struggles in school with me. Two weeks before the state exam for which I was preparing these students, two of them met with me and announced not only were they comfortable with the material, but they were beginning to understand content in their chemistry and algebra courses that before had stumped them. The very next day, two of my students thanked me for being patient and understanding with them, and for moving slowly to help them understand content instead of just pushing on. It was incredibly satisfying to be told by my students that I was helping them.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program has been a fantastic venue for me to explore the mentalities of other potential teachers who come from pure mathematics/pure science backgrounds, i.e., those who would not have originally been teachers. I think that those who are driven to the profession after pursuing their passion in a given subject have a different blend of enthusiasm and expertise that is infectious. I have learned much from chatting with chemistry majors, math majors, and even a biology major, all of whom have turned to teaching because they see in it the same opportunity that I do–to spread the appeal of the subject to students who otherwise find the material rote and inconsequential. The Noyce program has managed to bring together all these different students and provide them with the resources to succeed as instructors, but also with an outlet for sharing creative ideas.