Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: B.S., Adolescence Education: Biology
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, grades 7-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Field experience-Marathon HS; OCM Boces-Cortland Alternative School, DeWitt Middle School
I graduated from Millbrook High School in 2006 with high honors as well as a great interest in the science discipline, particularly biology, after excelling in my AP Biology course. Immediately following, I attended St. John’s University, where I was sure I wanted to be a part of the physicians assistant program. However, during this time I had a discussion with a professor at Marist College who previously taught high school education. He spoke with me about the positive impact that educators can make on students, and we discussed that educators are not necessarily making students learn, but more importantly giving them the opportunity to want to learn. With this newly acquired insight, I chose to attend Dutchess Community College, making the Dean’s List and/or President’s List each semester and playing on the softball and volleyball varsity teams. In 2008, I graduated with an Associate in Science degree and a teacher assistant certification. Currently, I am a senior at SUNY Cortland with a major in Adolescence Education: Biology 7-12. I am a member of TAU National Honor Society and a college peer tutor. Also, I have made the Dean’s List and have completed several pre-service teaching field placements.
Why do you want to teach:
I have an immense desire to spark interest in the subject of science by showing students the wonderful, intriguing aspects that exist in the natural world and scientific community. I would like to show that each and every student has the ability to make some type of difference in the world, and it simply starts with curiosity. All the great scientists of the past have been those who simply questioned and inquired.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
A teaching experience that is extremely memorable to me occurred just recently at the middle school where I am placed. As a student observer, I do my best to motivate students as much as I can. During this class, each individual student had to use a dichotomous key to identify labeled trees by observing the leaves. The lesson was also keyed to the notion of going from something general to specific. Usually, the class would go outside, but because it was raining, the teacher brought the leaves inside and placed them at particular stations. It was the last period of the day, which tends to be the most dragging and anxious period. Some students were working at the stations, yet there was a cluster of students that stood in the corner of the room talking loudly and jumping around. This group seems to frequently disrespect the class and teacher by acting up or by not listening. The teacher was preoccupied with checking a student’s work, so I went over and nicely asked one of the students, Eli, if he wanted to work on some trees together. Eli is a student who often calls out inappropriate responses, tends to be easily distracted, and often possesses an attitude. I do not know specifics, but I do know that Eli has some type of learning disability. Nevertheless, Eli came over to the station with me and for the rest of the period I had him thinking and talking about the characteristics of leaves. I was even able to help other students in the process, while he continued to do the work. This experience is so memorable to me because while he worked he seemed genuinely interested and focused. I rarely ever see him in this state of mind, and if I had helped make some difference by asking him the right questions, guiding him, or giving him the confidence he needed I am ecstatic. In addition, by removing Eli from the group, the rest of the students seemed to separate, and some just began to work on their own. Eli and I worked until the bell rang, which I felt was a great accomplishment since most students are itching to get back to their seat five minutes before the bell rings. This memory will always stand out to me and serves as a great reminder of why I love teaching.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program has impacted my life in various ways. Most importantly, it has allowed me to truly take advantage of every single opportunity that the college has to offer. I am able to focus on my studies, lab assistant responsibilities, college peer tutoring hours, the Biology Club, the garden work at DeWitt Middle School, and the amazing educational experience offered in Belize during winter break to study Marine Biology. I am doing everything in my power to gain as much familiarity with the scientific discipline as I possibly can. In doing this I can excel at being a knowledgeable science teacher and promoter of the advancement of science in schools and communities. The Noyce program has given me something specific to work for, and I want nothing more than to have those who awarded me the Noyce scholarship be proud to have me as a recipient. In addition, the Noyce program has made teaching science a reality. It has given me the drive to teach where I will be needed the most, at a high-need school, where motivating students and having them succeed will be the most rewarding. The Noyce program has also helped me to concentrate on the goal of making American society as scientifically literate as attainable. I aspire to work towards the goal of making every person have the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena and recognize the importance of scientific inquiry.