Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Education
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Biology
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Master Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
San Diego State University
Current academic or teaching status:
10 years of teaching experience
School and school district:
Helix Charter High School
After majoring in Anthropology and playing water polo at UC Davis, I worked for a California-based archaeological research firm and coached high school water polo. I became interested in education through my work in athletics and I was passionate about science as a result of my studies in high school and college. I have spend the last decade coaching and teaching at Helix Charter high school and am finding it more challenging and rewarding that I ever would have imagined.
Why do you want to teach:
While working in Carson City on an archaeological survey project I was at dinner with coworkers, telling them about my high school athletes. Finally, one of my colleagues stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Why don’t you DO THAT for a living?” He told me he had never seen anybody talk so passionately about working with kids. Within a year of that conversation, I was in a teaching credential program, had been hired as the head coach of a high school water polo and swim team, and was working as one of the school’s academic tutors. I have worked so hard, been so challenged and gotten so much out of working as an educator. Making connections with youth and being a mentor is such meaningful work and I am proud that my life as a wife, mother, coach, and student has become part of who I am as a teacher.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
At the close of each school year, I participate in our high school’s graduation ceremony. As graduates walk off stage, they pass through a gauntlet of teachers who give hand shakes, hugs and offer their congratulations. This last opportunity to see the kids, in what may be their proudest moment, is something that I treasure. Whether it is the valedictorian or my star athlete, whether it’s the kid who ran out of the room screaming when they found out they finally passed my class, or the one that I wasn’t sure was going to make it to this day, this final procession is a validation of the work that I do. Each graduation both brings closure and renews me with a confidence that I will then bring my students in the next year.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Being into the Noyce Fellowship program has giving me the chance to connect with a network of talented educators from the science and math fields. Their collective expertise is a vital resource to refining my practice and become truly a professional in this career. I would like to learn more about the way students learn, develop new strategies to motivate and engage students and pass these lessons along to other teachers in my sphere of influence.