Noyce Scholar Profile
Cindy Schaefer Kemps
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Biology and Anthropology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, Chemistry, Broadfield Science, grades 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University Wisconsin-Oshkosh, act! Program
Current academic or teaching status:
Long term substitute Biology and Science; Summer School, Astronomy
School and school district:
Menasha Joint School District
I obtained my BS with a double major in biology and anthropology. This was followed by several years working as a laboratory assistant in a hospital and in an industrial laboratory analyzing products for development. I am very involved in community work focusing on science outreach, education, diversity issues, and community building. I completed the act! Licensure program once my children were in school. Currently, I am teaching biology and science as a long term substitute and will be teaching astronomy again in summer school, and hoping for a classroom of my own next year.
Why do you want to teach:
I have always wanted to teach. Throughout my life, I have tried to motivate, inspire, and connect to others. I have also been drawn towards science. Yet, it took a while for me to realize that it is the process of science–wonder, exploration, and systematic search for truth–that I really love. Also, I now have clear recognition (thanks to Noyce and others) of the dire importance of improving education in STEM. I love and respect science education and feel a responsibility and need to do something great. I want to teach.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
My favorite teaching experience involved an enrichment program I organized. I was able to obtain several free physics kits for investigating lasers. In one of our labs, students’ wave length results were consistent, but “did not make sense.” I decided to pursue this anomaly even though it meant we would not have time to finish other laser labs. More in-depth research and testing strengthened our conclusion that something was wrong, yet we were unable to identify our problem. What next? Thanks to collaboration with a physics professor, we developed a hypothesis that the diffraction gratings might be faulty. With microscopy and more testing we determined that the manufacturer’s thread count labels were incorrect, thereby skewing our results. We shared our results with the manufacturer. Real life, in depth, process of science…Hooray!
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Thanks to the Noyce Scholarship, I have been able to really focus on becoming a high quality science teacher. With fewer financial distractions, I gained more from coursework and completed my education earlier. Through Noyce Conferences, I have gained knowledge, insight, and motivation to excel. My gratitude and desire to pass along this gift motivates my continued participation in high quality professional development. I believe I am a better teacher because of Noyce.