Degree(s) earned and from where: B.A. Chemistry and minor Visual Arts from Emory University, Atlanta

Previous career: QA Lab Director, pecan processing company; Allergy Lab Specialist

Concentration/Subject: Chemistry

What made you decide to change to a career in K-12 teaching?
I’ve tried using my degree and skill set in a few different ways, and none of them challenged me enough in all areas of my interests. I have a minor in visual arts and I participated in theater while at Emory. Teaching combines my passion for science while I utilize my skills in public speaking/performance and the creative arts. When I stumbled upon MAT programs, I was sure this was made for me.

What attracted you to Kennesaw State University’s MAT program?
Kennesaw State has a great education program and I strive to learn from the best. KSU’s MAT program was different from others for me in that it fit my views on teaching the most. Here, I am allowed to concentrate on my subject matter and learning to be a great teacher without someone pushing me to teach subjects where my passions are lacking. I feel like I can be myself and that I’m supported by my mentors. KSU’s program is also so practical. It’s more hands-on and experiential, instead of reading about how things should be done. That’s definitely the way I learn best.

What do you hope to learn by being a Noyce Teaching Fellow?
I hope to learn more about how I can make an impact on the education system by making a difference in my local area and in my students. I am thankful to have the learning experiences to add to my ‘tool box’ and to get those tools from the brightest educators. Noyce allows me a wonderful opportunity to engage with like-minded future teachers and establish a network of support and lifelong learning.

What challenges do you think exist in high needs schools that differ from non-high needs schools?
I believe the challenges lie mostly in peoples’ perception of high-needs schools and less in the students themselves. The students I’ve encountered are eager to learn, we just need to supply them with educational opportunities that are equitable with those of their peers. Everyone from administration to cafeteria specialist must be dedicated to the success of the students at that establishment. They must expect their students to succeed. If not, how are the students to expect anything of themselves? I think hope is too often lost in high-needs schools and I think that programs like Noyce will help reestablish some of that all-too-important stuff.

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