Noyce Scholar Profile
J. "Stian" Tucker
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Biology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Life Science, grades 6-8
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
Georgia State University, I-MAST
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
I grew up in suburban Cobb County, GA, attending large public schools in Smyrna. As a child I was geared toward math, music, and language; I was interested in scientific concepts, but not particularly in science classes. My parents encouraged me to do well in school, supporting my interests as they evolved. I became interested in astronomy in high school, and briefly considered majoring in Physics and Astronomy before deciding on Biology around my 2nd or 3rd year at Georgia State.
Why do you want to teach:
I grew up attending schools where science was not usually taught by highly qualified instructors. My understanding of scientific concepts was not well-developed by the time I graduated from high school, and it was not until I took a non-major biology course at Georgia State that I discovered the immense enjoyment I now have of learning biology. I want the students I teach to have an advantage I didn’t have going into higher education and into the world in general—a basic understanding of how and why the natural world works the way it does. And I want them to enjoy themselves while gaining that advantage.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
In Spring 2010, I was an intern with the Neuroscience Expo, a one-day event that took place at Zoo Atlanta. All semester, groups of Georgia State and Gwinnett High School students prepared 10-minute modules on various Neuroscience topics. On the day of the Expo, we presented the modules to small groups of middle school students. Although I was nervous at the beginning of the Expo, I found that after a couple of presentations, my partner and I settled into a groove, and my nerves calmed down; it was clear to me at that point that teaching is very doable and very enjoyable for me.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
For me, the Noyce program means the opportunity to draw from my own experiences as a student in high-needs schools to see that my students have stronger backgrounds in and more positive encounters with science than I was able to have in grade school.