Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Geology. Chemistry
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Science, grades 6-8 (also Regents Earth Science and Chemistry)
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Noyce Teaching Fellow
Name of Noyce institution:
University of Rochester
Current academic or teaching status:
2 years teaching experience as of 2011
School and school district:
Rush-Henrietta School District (NY)
I originally planned to get a PhD in geochemistry, but I was lured away by the dazzle of the dot-com world in the 1990s. I worked at various companies in the northeast as a web developer and multimedia programmer, until I decided I needed to break free from my cubicle in 2008. I went back to school for my Master’s degree (thanks to a Noyce scholarship) at the University of Rochester’s Warner School, and I have now been teaching science for 2 years.
Why do you want to teach:
I love being able to combine my creative energies and my sense of humor with the world of science in a way that I feel can help students make a connection with science–especially those who may feel as if they have given up on science.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
Near the end of my first year of teaching middle school science, I got a letter out of the blue from a student who I had been trying to connect with all year long. She was very smart and capable, but she also had some unusual struggles with some social aspects of middle school. In her letter, she thanked me for “making it OK to be a nerd.” She did not realize that she had nicely summed up for me what I had been striving to do for all my students–to make science class so interesting that it was OK to love science and to “be a nerd”–no matter where you think you fit into the social scheme of school.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
Without the Noyce program I would not have been able to take the big risk of changing careers and going back into a very intense graduate program. I had thought about becoming a teacher for many years, but quitting my stable job to go back to school when I had a mortgage, two kids, and various other responsibilities was just not imaginable. But the Noyce scholarship allowed me to take that chance, which has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.