"Only your dreams will change reality."
Degree Program: Science Education
Award: McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (2018)
Video Credit: Enrique Toledo
I didn't choose FSU; I like to think that FSU chose me, which makes this degree all the more meaningful. I began pursuing my graduate degree with FSU after seeking new pedagogical techniques I could use to teach SCUBA diving while working as the dive technician at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. After a few introductory courses, I was invited to join the School of Teacher Education as a graduate student.
Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
My motivations for pursuing a graduate degree are to help drive the research around teaching Black and brown children science as well as to develop my pedagogical and research-related skills. I want to become an expert in the area of multicultural science education and contribute to the ongoing effort of equitable instruction.
Importance and impact of research
The world is drastically feeling the effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, melting land ice, and more ferocious weather events such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. It is more important than ever that every citizen develops science literacy in order to navigate this changing climate in a world where "fake news" is also prominent. Furthermore, we need diverse ideas for mitigating the increasing effects of climate change, which can only come from a variety of perspectives. The only way to accomplish this goal is to create more equitable science learning environments that invite students' preconceptions and past experiences in support of effective teaching of science.
Advice for prospective graduate students
We live in a society that competitively pushes us to quickly start graduate school directly after undergraduate school. Graduate school is a long-term, humbling commitment that should be carefully considered. My advice for anyone considering graduate school is to deeply evaluate your situation and take your time with this huge decision.
Accomplishments during graduate career
I've submitted proposals, attended conferences, and spoken at seminars since returning to graduate school. Yet, thus far, my proudest accomplishment has been having the honor of teaching STEM to young scholars of color for the last two years at the North Florida Freedom Schools (NFFS) in Tallahassee. It is such a blessing to use my developing skills to teach STEM in meaningful ways to my students, and it motivates me to push through my doctoral program so I can facilitate this learning on a larger scale. I am also a McKnight Doctoral Fellow!
After the PhD, I would like to work at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), where I can plan and implement institutional culturally responsive practices within their education programs.