Degree Earned: BS Physics – University of North Georgia – 2014

Previous Career:  
United States Navy – Nuclear Field Machinist Mate (mechanic on nuclear submarines, operating and maintaining the nuclear reactor along with all the support systems and the propulsion train), Goodyear – Automotive Technician and Alignment Specialist.

What made you decide to change to a career in K-12 teaching?
I still have fond memories of helping a few friends get through Nuclear Power School in the Navy. It was a lot of information crammed into a short time frame, but we all worked together to get through it. After I decided the Navy wasn’t for me, I went to Wyotech to be an automotive technician. I rebuild the engine in my 2003 Mustang and added a supercharger among other things, but the most fun I had was being a peer tutor and student mentor. Most of the instructors had their students who were struggling come to me, and I really enjoyed helping them understand concepts and getting them through their exams. Unfortunately I ended up in a random Goodyear shop after I graduated and quickly got sick of shady business practices, so I decided to go to college and pursue and BS in Physics. I originally intended to work at a power plant, but after working as a TA in an introductory physics lab, I was pretty well hooked. The pay is also plenty for me, and the schedule is a lot better than rotating shift work at a power plant.

What attracted you to Kennesaw State University’s MAT program?
I have a friend who teaching AP biology and she does part of the hiring for her school. She recommended the program and has hired previous graduates, so clearly the program works. Upon further investigation, it sounded like great way to quickly get me up to speed and able to apply my content knowledge in physics in a high school teaching environment. It’s also only four semesters long and I’ll be done in 15 months of starting. Taking a lot of the guess work of teaching out as well starting off with higher pay sounds like a solid plan to me.

What do you hope to learn by being a Noyce Teaching Fellow?
I would like to learn as much as I can to be a more effective teacher. The MAT program is a fantastic place to start, but the Noyce Fellowship takes it even further. I’ve only been in the fellowship about three months at the time of this writing, but I’ve already had my mind blown. I feel like the Noyce Fellowship has already opened doors that would have likely remained closed if I wasn’t in the fellowship.

What challenges do you think exist in high needs schools that differ from non-high needs schools?
I imagine the more diverse student population would be a challenge. Every child and student can be reached though, and it sounds like an oddly entertaining challenge. Stereotypes and society may seem to have given up on some of these kids, but they are still just as capable as any other kid. If anything, this gives me more chances to see my students make sense of various topics and provide WAY more job satisfaction than doing the same routine at a power plant somewhere every day.

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