Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Teaching Biology 7-12
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Secondary Science
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Noyce Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
New York University
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Business of Sports School, District 02
Deborah McLaughlin is a 2009-2010 Noyce Scholar. In May 2009, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology with honors from the College of Arts and Science at New York University. After working in a genetics laboratory for two years as a research assistant, she followed her true passion to provide high quality science education in New York City public schools. In May 2010, Deborah received her Master of Arts in Teaching Biology from New York University as a Noyce Fellow. Currently Deborah is a 9th grade Living Environment teacher at the Business of Sports School in midtown Manhattan. Deborah is also a Jhumki Basu Science Educator Innovators Fellow, 2010-2011. This fellowship facilitates professional development opportunities and open discourse among science teachers serving urban youth in the science fields.
Why do you want to teach:
I am passionate about doing all I can in order to help close the achievement gap among low income and minority students in New York City public schools. Every student is entitled to a quality science education, to passionate teachers that not only meet a student’s particular learning needs but also hold them to high standards and expectations.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
A memorable teaching experience I had was with student J, who divulged rather openly that he “hates biology because it’s boring and hard.” After a week or so of struggling to keep J on task, I gave him a separate assignment in which he was to take the vocabulary of our unit (Scientific Inquiry) and turn it into a song to perform for the class. J was passionate about writing and poetry. When J performed his song for the class (“Green slime, Green slime” – a song about a controlled experiment in which the goal was to see if coconut juice could clean green slime off of a cruddy shower) I was overjoyed by his passion, enthusiasm, and correct vocabulary usage of our Sci Inquiry words in his poem. It became the class’s Unit 1 mantra, and J no longer came into class with head down and eyes closed. Rather he was eager to assume his role as Science Class Poet. This stands out in my mind because it is an example of how important it is to get to know your students in order to help them become engaged with science.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program first and foremost provided me with the funding to attend an amazing university and to enter into a community of master teacher mentors and fellow educators that continue each day to provide guidance, support and growth in my ongoing education in teacher and learning. I am indebted to the Noyce Program for this opportunity and am proud to be a part of a community populated by passionate educators who share a common goal: to nurture high quality STEM education in all young students.