Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Environmental Science/English
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science, grades 6-12
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Fifth year or post-baccalaureate Noyce scholar
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, act! program
Current academic or teaching status:
Just licensed and seeking a job!
School and school district:
Just finished student teaching in Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, WI
As an undergraduate, I studied Environmental Science and English and was always interested in the relationships between science, education, and environmental policy. I briefly worked in environmental education and journalism before returning to graduate school at University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison to continue my studies in ecology. I aimed for becoming a biology professor, and became actively involved in teaching and learning and efforts to broaden participation in STEM disciplines. Along the way, I realized that my true passion was in working with K-12 students and teachers. I finished with a master’s degree instead and took a job in science outreach at UW-Madison. Meanwhile, I began the Alternative Careers in Teaching (act!) program through UW-Oshkosh to become a licensed teacher.
Why do you want to teach:
Most of all, the kids! I love working with students every day–there is nothing more energizing, challenging, and gratifying. But it’s also because I learned very early on in my career that in order to succeed in environmental conservation, science alone will not help us. PEOPLE have environmental impacts, and in order to reduce environmental impacts, we need to change the attitudes and behaviors of people. My overall goal is to enhance science literacy in general, so that people can participate in making decisions about their lives that involve science–especially environmental issues. I am passionate about getting kids outside and building connections with their local communities, both with human and non-human species!
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Gosh, I think most teachers would say you can think of such a moment from every day! One of my most rewarding days during my student teaching was the first time that I took my high school students outside. Our high school is in a very urban setting, so it was fun for the kids to see that you don’t have to go far to see “nature.” One of my classes had been especially challenging to work with, and those were the students who were the most “into” getting outside and doing a census of earthworms for our soils unit. It was clear that for many of these students, this was the first time they had done this sort of outdoor exploration, especially within the context of school, and I was so happy to see them so excited!
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Without the Noyce program, I honestly don’t think I could have managed to get certified to teach. I was lucky to have a lot of experience teaching already–as a teaching assistant in grad school, in summer enrichment programs for youth, and teaching a service-learning course as part of my job in outreach. I wanted so much to become a classroom teacher, but the barriers seemed insurmountable–too much money and time! The flexibility of my program also allowed me to work while finishing my coursework, and the Noyce program made it financially realistic to student teach. Without it, I know many people like me, who WANT to teach, would not find a way to make it happen.