Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: BS, Biology; working towards MAT, Science Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Georgia
Current academic or teaching status:
First year graduate student
School and school district:
Practicum (Fall 2010), Student Teaching (Spring 2011) - Madison County High School, Madison County, GA
In high school I had an incredible biology teacher. She had a passion for the subject that I had never seen. In turn, I gained a passion for biology and chose to study it as an undergraduate. Originally, I thought that I wanted to go to medical school, but I later learned that I wanted to go simply because I thought I could do it, not because I loved medicine. I participated in Project FOCUS at the University of Georgia to teach elementary level science in Clarke County, Georgia. I finally found a passion through that program. I decided to enter the MAT program after completing the undergraduate program to gain invaluable experience in the classroom before entering the teaching profession.
Why do you want to teach:
I have always loved to learn. I was never a student who begrudged going to school. I know that all students are not like me, but I would like my classroom to be a place where learning is fun and exciting. I think that the sciences are so vital, and even if my students don’t enter science careers, I would like them to appreciate science after taking my course. I know so many people who say they hate biology. This statement sends a pain through my body because I love it so much. If my students don’t love biology, at the very least I hope never to hear them say they hate it. I want to share my passion for science with young minds in hopes that they become lifelong learners. One of the fundamental aspects of science is that it is always changing and always being challenged. What better life preparation than a course in which you are encouraged to think critically about things already set firmly in place? Even if students do not pursue science after high school, the kind of thinking that science encourages and requires is invaluable to an informed adult. I look forward to working with students with the hope of inspiring passion for science, but at the very least preparing them for the adult world and offering them a safe and understanding place to learn.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
The first time I taught a high school class this fall was amazing. The experience overall was so much fun, and I knew I had made the right choice in attending graduate school for education. One instance in particular stands out. I taught a lesson on invasive species to an environmental science class. This class was filled with students who have behavioral problems in other classes and did not do well on their end-of-course tests in biology. In their environmental science class, however, they all achieved and had little to no behavioral incidents. This is due greatly to their patient teacher. After teaching my lesson, I had the students create wanted posters for invasive species in Georgia. It is often difficult to get this class to focus on one task. If they focus and perform quietly, it is a feat. When they started their wanted posters they were engaged, focused, excited, and quiet. They immediately wanted to look for pictures or start drawing. One student asked me if he could take his poster home to work on it. I was so pleased when he asked because he was truly engaged. This was the moment I knew that I had taken the right path for my life. I could see that the students were learning, but they were also teaching me so much about what it means to be an educator. I look forward to more moments like this in my student teaching experience.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Peace of mind. I had always planned on attending some level of school after my undergraduate courses. I had also planned on supporting myself, however, I knew that if I needed help my parents could provide it. With the shift in economy last year, that all changed. My father lost his job, and I knew that I would be completely on my own. Although this is something I am proud of, it certainly isn’t always easy. Knowing I have the Noyce Fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to make my resources last longer and borrow less federal aid. When I enter the workforce, I will be able to focus on my job as an educator rather than stress about finances and how I will pay off my student loans. This peace of mind is equally as valuable as the monetary award I have received.