Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Chemistry
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Chemistry, grades 9-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Missouri Kansas City (KC-TEACH)
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Southwest High School, Kansas City, Missouri
I am 26 years old and finishing my 7th full year of undergraduate education with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. I went to college from 2003-2007 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in contemporary music and recording from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. After graduating, while I still knew that music would be a large part of my life, I decided to go back to school. I was interested in pursuing nursing. One of my first pre-requisites to complete was chemistry; I loved it. This was a rare situation in my class, because most did not enjoy the subject and only wanted to complete the course in order to move on into nursing. My professor arranged for me to tutor other studens, and that was when I found my love for teaching. Still, I was not convinced, so I figured I would pursue a career in chemistry only. When my husband and I came out to the Midwest, I attended the University of Missouri Kansas City to study chemistry. When I heard about the Noyce scholarship program, I began to consider teaching again more seriously, and here I am today.
Why do you want to teach:
Teaching is a form of translating a foreign and confusing language into something the student can wrap their heads around. I am a very simple and visual person on the inside, and I know how to break things down into tiny steps. I believe I can use this ability to encourage many students who are studying the sciences. So many people give up on science because they find it too complicated or too “hard.” I believe I can help my students to speak it fluently if only we work simply and practically. I want to help them regain their confidence in that which at first seems impossible.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
When I was in college in Massachusetts, I found a part-time job as a chorus teacher in a small private school. I had three groups: elementary, middle, and high school choir. The toughest group was the high school students. Only a few of them had even mild interest in singing at all, let alone harmonies. Some days were better than others, but gradually they started to get excited about how it sounded and what they had done. Eventually we reached the day of their concert. I think I was more nervous than they were! But they did such a great job, and they were so proud of themselves. No, no one came running up to beg them to sign a record deal, but they were able to take ownership of their work until it became something of which they were proud. It was a very rewarding thing to experience as an educator.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
I attended a Noyce scholar conference not that long ago, and I was blown away by the support for the program. It encouraged me to be part of such a great group of people. It also reinforced in my mind the government’s support for young and beginning teachers. I truly believe that teachers have one of the biggest responsibilities to our society. The Noyce program is empowering teachers to go out into the most difficult settings with the tools to succeed and truly make a difference.