Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Biology and Secondary Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Noyce Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Current academic or teaching status:
6th year teacher
School and school district:
Boston Public Schools, Noonan Business Academy
I spent my life after high school working my way up the corporate ladder in software firms. Starting as a receptionist and ending as a Chief Operations Officer, I never really found a position that truly made me happy. I left the private sector and applied to UMASS-Boston in 2003 in order to earn my B.S. in Biology, and in 2006 was accepted into the Teach Next Year M.Ed. program in Urban Education. I was awarded the Noyce Scholars Fellowship Award and worked as a teaching intern in the Boston Public School system. Since graduating, I have spent my time working with my high school biology students to pass their coursework and exams, but challenging them to become curious about how things work and to ask questions. I am currently teaching in a small Boston Public School, the Community Academy of Science and Health, where we strive to give our students the skills necessary to excel academically and socially while pursuing post-secondary opportunities and careers in the STEM fields.
Why do you want to teach:
I teach because I believe that all children deserve good teachers, not just those in affluent areas of society. I teach because I believe that a good teacher can change the way a person views him/herself and the world around us. I teach because there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the look of amazement on a child’s face when he/she witnesses a natural phenomenon for the first time. I teach to dispel the notion that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” I teach because I get to ensure that my students will always have someone whom they feel comfortable asking those difficult biological questions. I teach for the “A-HA” moments. I teach because Mrs. Salerno gave me the bug in our 4th grade science class, and it’s been with me ever since.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
During my internship teaching year, I was showing chemistry students how to accurately measure liquids by giving them beakers and graduated cylinders. They were to measure out an amount of liquid in the beaker and transfer it to the graduated cylinder and vice versa. The goal was for them to make the observation that it isn’t possible to be as accurate with the beaker as it is with the graduated cylinder. One of my senior students in the class had just transferred 50mL of water from the graduated cylinder to the beaker and exclaimed, “Hey! The water disappeared!” I went over to her desk, and she showed me that the graduated cylinder had been full almost to the top, but when she poured the water into the 400mL beaker, some of it disappeared. It took me a second to realize what she was trying to say, and I had to show her that the water was still all there by pouring it back into the graduated cylinder. She was amazed that the same amount of water could make one container look so full and make another container look so empty. That one event solidified in my mind that it is the job of a teacher to expose students to as many things as possible, and that job is one of the most important jobs in the world.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program gave me the ability to complete my M.Ed. without having to over-extend myself financially. It was a difficult choice to leave the private sector and return to school in order to become a teacher, and the Noyce scholarship made my transition possible. I believe that if I had had to worry about monetary issues during my teaching internship, I would not have been able to give my all to the process of becoming a teacher. I would not be the teacher I am today, and I love where I am in my career… I wouldn’t have done it any other way, and I’m thankful to the Noyce program for helping me get here.