Noyce Scholar Profile
Sebastian Pugliese III
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Chemistry; Paper Chemistry & Engineering.
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Broadfield Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics; Grades 6-12.
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
Alternative Careers in Teaching (act!) at U.W. Oshkosh and U.W. Fox Valley.
Current academic or teaching status:
Currently enrolled in act! program.
School and school district:
Student teach at Appleton West High School in Fall 2013.
In 2009, after eighteen years working for two Fortune 100 companies and a global law firm, I chose a path less traveled. I started my own law firm representing people seeking patents on their inventions. And I began representing people in need (e.g., people facing lawsuits by landlords; or foreclosures by banks). I also looked for new opportunities to teach.
I have always enjoyed teaching. I have taught: faith-formation classes to primary-grade, middle-school, and high-school students; project management and patent law training courses to fellow employees; two courses, Environment & Consumption and Probability & Statistics, to adult students enrolled at Lakeland College’s Kellett Center in Neenah, Wisconsin; and, in the last year, mathematics, science, social studies, and other courses to 5th-, 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade students enrolled at St. Nicholas Catholic School in Freedom, Wisconsin (as a substitute teacher).
In August 2012 I enrolled in the Alternative Careers in Teaching (act!) program at U.W. Oshkosh / Fox Valley. I decided I wanted to teach full time because I enjoy teaching, and love learning.
Why do you want to teach:
I want to teach full time because I love: (1) learning; (2) being around others who are learning and, as a result, growing as human beings; (3) seeking, through respectful give-and-take discussions with others, to get at the truth of a matter; (4) motivating others to get excited about a subject; (5) making a positive impact on a person (e.g., on his or her understanding of the world and habits of being); and (6) making a complicated subject accessible to students, so that they can understand it, make it their own, and master it.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Recently a student told me of an experiment he was undertaking for an upcoming science fair. He wanted to answer this question: does dissolving one or more mints in water lower the temperature of the water? I thought this was an interesting question, and we and some nearby students talked about it. I asked whether the step of dissolving the mint required energy, or gave off energy. I then re-framed the question, and asked whether the step of dissolving the mint was exothermic–i.e., gave off energy–or . . . and another student chimed in, saying “endothermic.” And so we talked generally about reactions that required energy, or gave off energy. We then speculated on whether the step of dissolving a mint in water was exothermic or endothermic. We talked about whether the cooling sensation a person experiences when dissolving a mint in his or her mouth is due to an endothermic reaction, or some other factor. I think this little anecdote exemplifies one aspect of teaching: a moment, arising spontaneously, in which you and your students are thinking, exchanging views and, as a result, learning.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
I am fortunate to have received a Noyce Scholarship because it has considerably eased the financial burden of making the transition towards becoming a full-time science teacher.