Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Psychology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Elementary Education
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Our Community Cares Camp, Underhill, VT
I grew up in Vermont and was homeschooled until high school. The many discussions within my home about individual differences in academic strengths and learning styles led me to be a psychology major and also led to my academic interest in teaching and learning. From the beginning of college I was considering teaching, so quickly became involved in education courses and practical work in local schools. Both of these solidified my desire to be a teacher as I realized the sociological importance of good teaching and also realized that I enjoyed teaching.
Why do you want to teach:
I want to teach primarily because of the sociological importance of education in issues of equality. I am convinced that much of my own academic success has to do with the support I was given primarily from my parents and later from teachers in high school. I want to have the opportunity to give that same support to all the students in my classroom.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
This summer I was working at a summer camp teaching science. During project time, there was a first-grade boy who wanted to do nothing but play with yarn and cut it up. Since he was in the science area, I wanted to incorporate some learning into what he was doing. I was able to redirect him toward cutting pieces of yarn that fit around round objects such as containers and tables. After measuring around the object, we would stretch the yarn across the object. Through this hands-on experience, I was able to introduce him to the idea of pi. Something that goes around a circle once will go across it 3 times and a little bit more.
This experience stands out because it was an opportunity to turn play into a hands-on learning experience. Moreover, through introducing the broad concept of pi without the exact mathematics, I was able to introduce an idea that would often be thought of as too complex for a first grader to understand.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program has given me focus for my last two years of college. Before becoming part of the Noyce program, I thought I might want to go into elementary education, but I wasn’t sure of the specifics of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to teach. The Noyce program helped me to decide to focus on developing my ability to teach elementary math and science in particular. I am excited to spend the next two years using the combined resources of Vassar College and the Noyce program in order to become a great classroom teacher who will be adept at giving students a strong mathematical and scientific basis.