Background: Growing up with entomologists as parents, I was immersed in science, always outdoors exploring and asking questions about what I saw. This curiosity and love I developed for science throughout my life never faded, leading me to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biological Sciences at Clemson University.
Why I want to teach: I have always had a passion for learning, particularly about the sciences, which is why my mind changed countless times concerning how I wanted to use science in my career. I’ve explored paths as diverse as genetics to neuroscience to conservation biology to environmental science, but I could never completely settle on just one. Through my experiences of tutoring students and working as a Zoo Camp Education Intern at the Greenville Zoo, I discovered how much I enjoy teaching what I find to others. Teaching allows me to explore all of the areas of science that I enjoy all while helping others.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: The summer after my sophomore year of college, I worked as an education intern at the Greenville Zoo. Originally, I mainly wanted to work at the zoo so I could work hands on with the animals, but as I started teaching kids about the animals we had, I realized how much I enjoyed sharing my passion for wildlife and nature with them. Even though I wasn’t getting paid and I had to wake up at 6 every morning with an hour commute there and back, it was beyond worth it to me. I loved every minute of it: the challenges of teaching the kids, the pleasure of sharing my passion with others, and all that I learned while I was there.
Goals and Aspirations: As a teacher, I want to be able to help children do more than just learn about the sciences. I want to help them develop an awe and excitement for science akin to what I had growing up. One of my main goals is to create a learning environment in the classroom that stimulates curiosity through hands-on learning, interesting facts, current science news, discussions, true understanding of material rather than rote memorization, and connecting concepts and subjects. I believe that education is the fundamental key to every aspect in life; it gives knowledge and provides opportunities, often in unexpected ways, to those who receive it and I want to help give this to others.
Advice for Prospective Teachers: I haven’t had much teaching experience yet, but I remember the science student teacher I had when I was in seventh grade. She loved the material she taught and was always excited to teach us about it. She made such an impression on me, I still remember her after all these years. I would just say, let your love and passion for the material you want to teach shine through. If you’re excited about something, odds are that excitement will spread.
What the program means to me: I’m honored and thankful to be part of the Noyce program. The program allows me to focus on becoming the best teacher I can be, rather than having to be concerned about financial issues. I am also provided with a great support system of encouraging peers and instructors along with beneficial experiences that will help me throughout earning my degree and as a future teacher.