Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Mechanical Engineering
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Physics, Science, grades 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of South Florida
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University in 1982, and started my career as a machine design engineer in 1984. I pursued a graduate degree in engineering part-time while employed full time as a practicing engineer, and in 2001 received my Master’s in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia. I have enjoyed an engineering career in the commercial sector spanning over 26 years, and now, following a recent relocation from Virginia to Florida, I am preparing to embark upon a new career as a Physics teacher.
Why do you want to teach:
I have always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and interest in math, science and engineering with others. From tutoring fellow high school students as a member of the National Honor Society to mentoring new engineers as a professional, I have received immense satisfaction from others’ success. My wife has been in the higher education field since we were married, and her enthusiasm for teaching has rubbed off on me.
Recently my wife accepted a position as an associate dean at the University of South Florida, College of Nursing. Our move has presented an opportunity for me to change careers and become more engaged in teaching our youth. I hope to use my engineering experience to engage students’ interest in Physics and show how it can help them pursue their goals.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
I have yet to teach professionally, but I have always enjoyed working with youth in settings outside of school. I was a Little League baseball coach for 5 years in the South Richmond area, working with boys and girls from various ethnic and social groups, including economically disadvantaged and at-risk children. I also served in leadership positions in both Cub Scouts (Den Leader, Committee Member) and Boy Scouts (Assistant Scout Master) for a total of 13 years. This enabled me to develop strong bonds with the boys and mentor them through a several year period. One big thrill for me was having 4 of the scouts in our small troop attain the rank of Eagle.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Once my wife and I had decided that the move to Tampa was a good idea, I began to search for my next opportunity. I had talked for several years about transitioning into a teaching career, but was reluctant to walk away from a steady job into the unknown. I knew that there was much more to being an effective teacher than just knowing the material. I also recognized that it had been quite some time since I had been a full-time student. As I was searching for possibilities, I discovered the Noyce Fellowship program. This was an excellent opportunity for me to gain the skills needed to be an effective teacher in a fast-paced program. I am looking forward to the challenge and am grateful for the opportunity that this fellowship has presented to me.