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RADIANS profiles

Profiles of RADIANS teacher scholars will be posted after they are selected for the 2016-17 academic year.

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  • 2016-17 Scholars

    • Alyssa Campos
      Alyssa Campos

      I have always been incredibly fortunate to have great math teachers.  I can remember having truly amazing teachers in elementary school, middle school, junior high, and especially in high school.  I was fortunate to have amazing professors like Dr. Chase and Dr. Warshauer on the college level as well!  But I realized early on that math was a strength of mine, and I lost sight of that for a little while.  Entering Texas State I was a little lost and confused and struggled with deciding my future.  I was the first person in my entire family entering college, and it was very intimidating.  As my freshman year progressed I found out I was expecting my little girl and from then on, things just fell into place and teaching seemed so logical and natural.  I was and am in the process of learning to be a good mom, but learning and teaching go hand-in-hand.

      In my world of being a student and a mom, teaching and learning intertwine, but I plan to use that in my favor when I begin teaching. I want to incorporate the love and care in my teaching philosophies while effectively teaching my three-year-old as she grows.  It’s easy to see how they overlap, and I am excited to get in the classroom with students that need that kind of impact in their lives.  Adolescences are under so much stress and pressure, and I believe I was put on this earth to 1) be the best mom I can be for my daughter, and also 2) be the positive reinforcement for the kids of our future.  I fully intend to use my personal title of “Mom” to reach out to my students in my professional title of “teacher.”

      The truth is I do not know where I would be without the strong influence of math in my life.  My mom has always had a math problem in front of me, and I whole-heartedly attribute my success to her.  I am confident I would have found my way to teaching one way or another because I believe education is the biggest equalizer in our society.  I want to eliminate barriers and break down social classes by promoting education among all our students in a fair and effective manner.

    • Jessica Conn
      Jessica Conn

      I realized I wanted to be a teacher while homeschooling my own children. I loved everything about the process. I have two very different children and learning how to meet each of them where they were at was an experience that totally changed who I was. It was the first time I had ever had to think of a subject differently than how I already thought about it. One of my children was better at abstract thinking, so teaching them something like math was pretty straightforward. My other child required math to be related to “the real world”, so teaching them often required creatively re-examining my own understanding of math. It also was important for me to consider what types of learning were most valuable to each child at their particular stage in life. I read dozens of books that spanned almost every viewpoint of children and learning. Essentially, educating my children became the most complex puzzle I had ever attempted. It was exhilarating.

      When my children started school, I decided to go back to college and get my degree in education. I started taking classes at Austin Community College without really knowing what I wanted to teach. I had a math professor that had a PhD in physics who pulled me aside one day after class and asked me what my major was. I told her I wanted to be a teacher. She said, "Jessica, you have the mind of a physicist...you should be doing physics." That statement changed everything. It was the first time someone recognized the way I think as being valuable instead of disruptive. I thought to myself that maybe physics really was where I belonged. Without ever taking a single physics course I changed my major!

      The math professor wasn't wrong. I took Introductory Mechanics and fell in love. It was the most challenging and wonderful thing I had ever experienced in a learning environment. My mechanics class had Learning Assistants in it and doing physics in small groups seemed very natural to me. Working with other people to solve a problem reminded me of the “puzzle” of teaching my children. The following semester, I applied to be an LA and fell in love with teaching physics. At the end of the first semester, I started doing Physics Education Research with Dr. Eleanor Close. I have been doing research with her for almost 4 years and have had the opportunity to think deeply about what makes people choose physics and stay with it.

      While working as an LA I realized the impact I could have as a physics teacher. As a child I attended high-poverty schools, and I had many experience of being shut down or getting in trouble because I had a lot of questions and my teachers wanted me to sit quietly. In elementary school, I loved science. Unfortunately, low-income secondary schools lack highly qualified STEM teachers, and math and science instruction is often focused on memorizing facts and passing tests. When the math and science classrooms of low-income schools are staffed with teachers that aren't sufficiently educated in the content they're teaching, it becomes nearly impossible for students to succeed. Math and science become scary, boring and unattainable. I want to change that for my students. STEM is where the jobs of the future are. If I can help students learn to love physics, maybe more students will become STEM majors and acquire skills they need to pull themselves out of poverty. Exploring math and science and wondering about life should be part of our educational culture. I hope to bring that into my classroom when I become a teacher. 

    • Anisa Gutierrez
      Anisa Gutierrez

      “Science is everywhere”, said Mr. Carrion, my 4th grade teacher. “What do you mean?” I replied. “From the sun and plants outside, to the computers we use, and the air we breathe. Everyday, science is taking place all around us.” My nine-year-old self had my first mind-blowing experience. Ever since then I loved reading and watching anything science-related.

      I would want to teach biology or chemistry at the high school level. I have always valued education and its powers to benefit anyone in the world. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, education can be used as a tool to get you where you want to be.

      In my 3.5 years of being a biology major and wanting to be an educator, I recently met another classmate that shares the same dream to become a teacher. In a science field of future doctors, nurses, engineers and researchers, it’s hard to find other individuals who want to teach in STEM. STEM is highly over looked in day-to-day life but we all use it everyday whether we like to or not.  

      Teachers play a huge part in society. I remember growing up, I would see my school family more than my actual family at home. I was one of the few who wanted to get up and go to school among my peers. Teachers are role models, support groups, givers, entertainers and much more. I believe that teachers can be more than just people who tell you this is that, they are people who wake up Monday through Friday to share there passion and help you learn something that you didn’t know the day before.

      Now, to answer the age old question, “Why are we learning this?”. I would answer my future students with “How does a car work? How does your body process the food you eat? Or how do you breathe? I’m here to help you find those answers and teach you how things work in the world.”

      I want to teach science to because I want to bring a better understanding of how things work and have a classroom that is inviting and a safe space. I want my students to know that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. The future of the world will be in my classroom one day and I want to prepare them with life skills and knowledge. I would like for them to be engaged in what I’m teaching and not just waiting till the bell rings to leave. I hope to have as much of an impact as my teachers did on me.

      “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.  -Benjamin Franklin

    • David Jaime
      David Jaime

      As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to know how things work. I spent a large portion of my free time, as a child and teenager, trying to learn about fundamental chemistry and physics concepts. Of course, I didn’t initially know that what I was trying to learn was considered part of chemistry or physics. I was just curious.

      I realized how much I enjoyed teaching and the process of learning as I got to college and helped fellow students with biology and chemistry homework, and eventually tutoring. I knew then, that whatever I may end up working in, I would like to work-in teaching to my job. Pretty much every teacher I could think of not only seemed really knowledgeable in their field, but also had what I considered traits that made them good teachers. I did not think I was capable of actually being a teacher, as so many of teachers seemed natural at teaching and I wasn’t.

      As I continued through my college courses, eventually transferring to Texas State and subsequently joining the Physics Learning Assistant program, I realized that teaching was something that I could practice. Working as an LA, helping instruct labs, and doing science outreach at the local schools really helped solidify my goal to become a chemistry and physics teacher. Soon I’ll have my teaching certification and I’ll be able to do what I truly enjoy, teaching chemistry and physics.

    • Teaching wasn’t always the field I saw myself in. 

      Kendra Lanford
      Kendra Lanford

      I was exposed to the realm of teaching my sophomore year when I applied and was hired as a General Chemistry 1 Supplemental Instructor. Just after a year of being a part of the Supplemental Instructor Program, I changed my Biology major to include the Life Science 7-12 Teacher Certification and kept my Chemistry minor. Adding the secondary education minor was the best choice I have made. To be a biology and chemistry teacher is my dream job.

      I was first exposed to biology in high school and despised it. I wasn’t the best student, but my teacher made the material dull and boring. It wasn’t until I was in college where I actually learned the material that I fell in love with biology. I love being able to look at the world around us and understand what’s going on. To this day, I cannot go for a hike and not think about what types of plants I’m seeing. I cannot look at an onion without thinking about mitosis.

      My goal as a future educator is to implement best practices and have students figure out that science is an open door of possibilities. Science is enticing, challenging, and amazing. I want students to have the chance to see science with an open mind and positive perspective.

    • Samantha Mortenson
      Samantha Mortenson

      I have had many teachers inspire me to become a teacher. My third grade math teacher is the reason I am becoming a math teacher. She opened my eyes to math and made me fall in love with the subject and learning all about math. My fourth grade English teacher cared for each of her students which has made me want to be a role model for my students and be a person they can come to for advice on anything outside of school and math. My high school cross country coach pushed me to reach my full potential and to never give up no matter how hard things got. You are always there for your athletes and students if they need anything whether it be help in history or in life. pushed me to reach my full potential and never give up. My coach built community her classroom and had mutual respect in her class. Each of these women influenced me greatly to follow my passion; teaching math.

       Being a teacher is about teaching students the content they need for the specific class but also being a resource, support system, and role model for your students and teaching them life lessons. As a teacher, I want my students to feel comfortable in my class and with me, have fun in my class, and enjoy coming to school because of my class. When I tell people I want to teach Math, I get the question, “Why Math?” When I get asked this question I have a huge smile on my face because teaching math is my passion. I always say that math is so interesting and all around us. Yes, I know the majority of my students will hate math and not want to learn it, but I see that as a challenge to make the content fun so they want to learn more and come to my class. Also, most students don’t realize why they must learn math because they never notice that math is everywhere, and in one way or another they use it every day.

      As a high school math teacher, I will be a resource for my students to come to for anything and everything. I want to be there for my students and show them that I’m there for more than just teaching them math. I want to inspire my students to achieve their goals and help them reach their full potential in life. I want my students to know they are good enough and someone cares about them. I want to be more than just a teacher to them. I cannot wait to be a teacher and start making an impact in my student’s lives and hopefully make them enjoy math and school even a little bit more than what they did before they walked into my class.

  • 2017-18 Scholars

    • []

    • Alyssa Campos
      Alyssa Campos

      I have always been incredibly fortunate to have great math teachers.  I can remember having truly amazing teachers in elementary school, middle school, junior high, and especially in high school.  I was fortunate to have amazing professors like Dr. Chase and Dr. Warshauer on the college level as well!  But I realized early on that math was a strength of mine, and I lost sight of that for a little while.  Entering Texas State I was a little lost and confused and struggled with deciding my future.  I was the first person in my entire family entering college, and it was very intimidating.  As my freshman year progressed I found out I was expecting my little girl and from then on, things just fell into place and teaching seemed so logical and natural.  I was and am in the process of learning to be a good mom, but learning and teaching go hand-in-hand.

      In my world of being a student and a mom, teaching and learning intertwine, but I plan to use that in my favor when I begin teaching. I want to incorporate the love and care in my teaching philosophies while effectively teaching my three-year-old as she grows.  It’s easy to see how they overlap, and I am excited to get in the classroom with students that need that kind of impact in their lives.  Adolescences are under so much stress and pressure, and I believe I was put on this earth to 1) be the best mom I can be for my daughter, and also 2) be the positive reinforcement for the kids of our future.  I fully intend to use my personal title of “Mom” to reach out to my students in my professional title of “teacher.”

      The truth is I do not know where I would be without the strong influence of math in my life.  My mom has always had a math problem in front of me, and I whole-heartedly attribute my success to her.  I am confident I would have found my way to teaching one way or another because I believe education is the biggest equalizer in our society.  I want to eliminate barriers and break down social classes by promoting education among all our students in a fair and effective manner.

    • []

    • Jessica Conn
      Jessica Conn

      I realized I wanted to be a teacher while homeschooling my own children. I loved everything about the process. I have two very different children and learning how to meet each of them where they were at was an experience that totally changed who I was. It was the first time I had ever had to think of a subject differently than how I already thought about it. One of my children was better at abstract thinking, so teaching them something like math was pretty straightforward. My other child required math to be related to “the real world”, so teaching them often required creatively re-examining my own understanding of math. It also was important for me to consider what types of learning were most valuable to each child at their particular stage in life. I read dozens of books that spanned almost every viewpoint of children and learning. Essentially, educating my children became the most complex puzzle I had ever attempted. It was exhilarating.

      When my children started school, I decided to go back to college and get my degree in education. I started taking classes at Austin Community College without really knowing what I wanted to teach. I had a math professor that had a PhD in physics who pulled me aside one day after class and asked me what my major was. I told her I wanted to be a teacher. She said, "Jessica, you have the mind of a physicist...you should be doing physics." That statement changed everything. It was the first time someone recognized the way I think as being valuable instead of disruptive. I thought to myself that maybe physics really was where I belonged. Without ever taking a single physics course I changed my major!

      The math professor wasn't wrong. I took Introductory Mechanics and fell in love. It was the most challenging and wonderful thing I had ever experienced in a learning environment. My mechanics class had Learning Assistants in it and doing physics in small groups seemed very natural to me. Working with other people to solve a problem reminded me of the “puzzle” of teaching my children. The following semester, I applied to be an LA and fell in love with teaching physics. At the end of the first semester, I started doing Physics Education Research with Dr. Eleanor Close. I have been doing research with her for almost 4 years and have had the opportunity to think deeply about what makes people choose physics and stay with it.

      While working as an LA I realized the impact I could have as a physics teacher. As a child I attended high-poverty schools, and I had many experience of being shut down or getting in trouble because I had a lot of questions and my teachers wanted me to sit quietly. In elementary school, I loved science. Unfortunately, low-income secondary schools lack highly qualified STEM teachers, and math and science instruction is often focused on memorizing facts and passing tests. When the math and science classrooms of low-income schools are staffed with teachers that aren't sufficiently educated in the content they're teaching, it becomes nearly impossible for students to succeed. Math and science become scary, boring and unattainable. I want to change that for my students. STEM is where the jobs of the future are. If I can help students learn to love physics, maybe more students will become STEM majors and acquire skills they need to pull themselves out of poverty. Exploring math and science and wondering about life should be part of our educational culture. I hope to bring that into my classroom when I become a teacher. 

    • Cassandra Danhoff
      Cassandra Danhoff

      Hello! My name is Cassandra (Cassy) Danhof, and I am an Interdisciplinary Science major, meaning I want to try to teach all of high science: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Also, I am terrible at trying to write and evaluate my own personal experience, but I’m going to try (don’t judge me too much). 

      If a young Cassy were told what I was doing today, I don’t think she would believe me. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress. I loved the idea of immersing myself into this world I didn’t know and manipulating it so that it was mine. I even was in a few plays in middle and high school, but for one reason or another, that didn’t stick for me. Then - because of my high school Chemistry class - I thought I wanted to be a nurse. I liked the idea of integrating my ideas in science and helping people along the way. But again, for one reason or another, that didn’t stick either. The moral of the story is when I was searching all throughout high school and the first half of my college years, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a couple of passions; I loved being creative, solving ideas, and helping people, but I didn’t know how to combine those into a profession I would want to be in. 

      Then one day I had a conversation with my mom about how frustrated I was with my current situation. A little backstory into this conversation: I was 1 year into community college, volunteering at my church’s preschool for the past few years, just finished an information session at the UT Health Science Center for nursing programs, and hated it. She told me that I should consider going into elementary education since I was so good with the preschoolers at church. I was curious about this notion, so I took a general education course, which had us go and do observations anywhere we want. I took advantage of this. I did observations everywhere - from elementary school English to middle school Math, and everything in-between. At the same time, I was taking my General Chemistry course in community college and falling back in love with the subject just as I did in high school. One thing led to another, and I found myself back in my old high school classroom with the same teacher I had so many years ago, running around her little lab and helping students curiously learn Chemistry. With that, I was hooked. 

      Now, I don’t think I will ever go back on my decision. With all the experience Texas State has given me in teaching pretty much every science topic available, I have just fallen more in love with teaching and learning. I want my high school students - no matter what path they go - to feel that love for learning too. 

    • Anisa Gutierrez
      Anisa Gutierrez

      “Science is everywhere”, said Mr. Carrion, my 4th grade teacher. “What do you mean?” I replied. “From the sun and plants outside, to the computers we use, and the air we breathe. Everyday, science is taking place all around us.” My nine-year-old self had my first mind-blowing experience. Ever since then I loved reading and watching anything science-related.

      I would want to teach biology or chemistry at the high school level. I have always valued education and its powers to benefit anyone in the world. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, education can be used as a tool to get you where you want to be.

      In my 3.5 years of being a biology major and wanting to be an educator, I recently met another classmate that shares the same dream to become a teacher. In a science field of future doctors, nurses, engineers and researchers, it’s hard to find other individuals who want to teach in STEM. STEM is highly over looked in day-to-day life but we all use it everyday whether we like to or not.  

      Teachers play a huge part in society. I remember growing up, I would see my school family more than my actual family at home. I was one of the few who wanted to get up and go to school among my peers. Teachers are role models, support groups, givers, entertainers and much more. I believe that teachers can be more than just people who tell you this is that, they are people who wake up Monday through Friday to share there passion and help you learn something that you didn’t know the day before.

      Now, to answer the age old question, “Why are we learning this?”. I would answer my future students with “How does a car work? How does your body process the food you eat? Or how do you breathe? I’m here to help you find those answers and teach you how things work in the world.”

      I want to teach science to because I want to bring a better understanding of how things work and have a classroom that is inviting and a safe space. I want my students to know that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. The future of the world will be in my classroom one day and I want to prepare them with life skills and knowledge. I would like for them to be engaged in what I’m teaching and not just waiting till the bell rings to leave. I hope to have as much of an impact as my teachers did on me.

      “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.  -Benjamin Franklin

    • []

    • David Jaime
      David Jaime

      As far back as I can remember I have always wanted to know how things work. I spent a large portion of my free time, as a child and teenager, trying to learn about fundamental chemistry and physics concepts. Of course, I didn’t initially know that what I was trying to learn was considered part of chemistry or physics. I was just curious.

      I realized how much I enjoyed teaching and the process of learning as I got to college and helped fellow students with biology and chemistry homework, and eventually tutoring. I knew then, that whatever I may end up working in, I would like to work-in teaching to my job. Pretty much every teacher I could think of not only seemed really knowledgeable in their field, but also had what I considered traits that made them good teachers. I did not think I was capable of actually being a teacher, as so many of teachers seemed natural at teaching and I wasn’t.

      As I continued through my college courses, eventually transferring to Texas State and subsequently joining the Physics Learning Assistant program, I realized that teaching was something that I could practice. Working as an LA, helping instruct labs, and doing science outreach at the local schools really helped solidify my goal to become a chemistry and physics teacher. Soon I’ll have my teaching certification and I’ll be able to do what I truly enjoy, teaching chemistry and physics.

    • Samantha Mortensen
      Samantha Mortensen

      I have had many teachers inspire me to become a teacher. My third grade math teacher is the reason I am becoming a math teacher. She opened my eyes to math and made me fall in love with the subject and learning all about math. My fourth grade English teacher cared for each of her students which has made me want to be a role model for my students and be a person they can come to for advice on anything outside of school and math. My high school cross country coach pushed me to reach my full potential and to never give up no matter how hard things got. You are always there for your athletes and students if they need anything whether it be help in history or in life. pushed me to reach my full potential and never give up. My coach built community her classroom and had mutual respect in her class. Each of these women influenced me greatly to follow my passion; teaching math.

       Being a teacher is about teaching students the content they need for the specific class but also being a resource, support system, and role model for your students and teaching them life lessons. As a teacher, I want my students to feel comfortable in my class and with me, have fun in my class, and enjoy coming to school because of my class. When I tell people I want to teach Math, I get the question, “Why Math?” When I get asked this question I have a huge smile on my face because teaching math is my passion. I always say that math is so interesting and all around us. Yes, I know the majority of my students will hate math and not want to learn it, but I see that as a challenge to make the content fun so they want to learn more and come to my class. Also, most students don’t realize why they must learn math because they never notice that math is everywhere, and in one way or another they use it every day.

      As a high school math teacher, I will be a resource for my students to come to for anything and everything. I want to be there for my students and show them that I’m there for more than just teaching them math. I want to inspire my students to achieve their goals and help them reach their full potential in life. I want my students to know they are good enough and someone cares about them. I want to be more than just a teacher to them. I cannot wait to be a teacher and start making an impact in my student’s lives and hopefully make them enjoy math and school even a little bit more than what they did before they walked into my class.

       

    • []

  • 2018-19 Scholars

    • Ian Anderson
      Ian Anderson

      I began my journey at Texas State University in the fall of 2014. I spent my first two years here experimenting with many different majors attempting to find a subject that I really enjoyed. I took my first physics class at Texas State in the fall of 2016. After two months, I officially changed my major to physics and had finally the subject I wanted to study. I knew that I had a passion for studying physics, but I did not know what I wanted to do with my degree after graduation. At the end of mechanics, I was approached and asked if I had any interest in joining the LA program. I have now been participating in the LA program for four semesters as well as instructing sections of the lab courses. Through my involvement in the LA program and the Lab instruction that I became very interested in teaching and education research. Working as a LA, a Lab Instructor, and a tutor in the Help Center has inspired me to pursue a career in education. I have found a real passion for sharing my love and knowledge of physics with students, and I am very excited to get into the classroom and start teaching!

    • My name is Sean Tarter and I am a graduate student at

      Sean Tarter
      Sean Tarter

      Texas State University focusing on achieving my Master’s degree in secondary education as well as satisfying the requirements necessary for receiving my physics/math teaching certification. I graduated high school in Clear Lake City, Texas and recently graduated from Texas State University with a B.S. in physics. While an undergraduate at the Texas State physics department, I was a learning assistant who aided students during their introductory university physics work both in and out of the classroom. I aspire to teach high school physics and to someday pursue a doctoral degree to teach at the collegiate level. I enjoy most anything outdoor related, reading old books on history and philosophy, as well as playing and listening to music.
       
      I believe that a school’s foremost purpose is to facilitate two functions. The first of which is to adequately prepare students to best fulfill their future roles of being good citizens in our society. The school should serve as a scale-model example of a community and ultimately teach students the dynamics of how people are to interact with one another while still maintaining and promoting the creativity of each individual’s unique personality. The second primary function of which a school should serve is, in essence, an emphasis on this latter point. While it is important that a school achieves the goal of developing good citizens, this is not to say that a school should be an institution that simply promulgates conformity among students. The school should also place a high emphasis on creating and maintaining an atmosphere that promotes student individuality and creativity.
       
      Additionally, I believe that a good teacher should, above all else, be well prepared. Not only should he or she have a high overall readiness for delivering instruction but also they also need to be mentally prepared to address the everyday difficulties and unpredictable issues that will inevitably present themselves in the classroom and/or school. A teacher should be more than a mediator of knowledge to the students; a good teacher should also serve as a professional role model and consistently act and behave accordingly. Effective teaching necessitates good people skills, especially during instruction. A good teacher will respect their students and actively listen to them to best help their learning in a meaningful way.  
       
      Students, on the other hand, need to be motivated to learn when inside the classroom. While part of this responsibility lies with the educators, the student is also responsible for being actively engaged in learning with their teachers and with their fellow students. A good student should feel accountable for their own work and, by extension, their own level of success. Students who display a good work ethic and a positive attitude are more likely to develop a healthy level of self-efficacy that will serve them throughout their lives.
       
      I hope that through the help of my personal and academic experience, as well as the support offered by Noyce scholarship, I will be able to be an effective physics teacher and motivate the future generations of students to enjoy and have an appreciation for science.

    • Greer Vincent
      Greer Vincent

      I did not always know that I wanted to be a teacher, in fact when I was going through public school, I was certain that teaching would be the last thing that any sane person would want to do. My Aunt was a teacher for elementary school art and she was always in a frantic state, which I attributed to the stress of her job (I grew up to find she is just super dramatic). When I was growing up, I was in a less than great school district, the SWAT team was called once for a school shooting threat, and I saw that teachers had to put up with a lot of disrespect from students. In response to this I decided that teaching was an awful career choice, even though I had tested multiple times on aptitude test to be most apt to teaching.

      I went into college without being passionate about what I was studying, all most family said I was smart, I should do engineering, they make lots of money. Being young I didn’t have any real objections to earning lots of money and gave it no real thought. Every now and then I would be taking a class and I would have a teacher that was passionate about what they were doing, and did a great job engaging the students. I began to think that maybe teaching would be fun, but I pushed the thoughts away, because it wasn’t as “prestigious” as engineering. When I took my first set on engineering classes at Texas State, I realized that I found the classes very boring and my grades were reflecting my lack of interest. I began to have a crisis of identity, I was always told to be an engineer, but I hated it. I didn’t know what to do until my friend suggested I pray on it and think about what makes me happy in life. Really obvious advice but it was the first time I had heard it from someone I respected. After time reflecting, I realized I enjoyed helping people, but that was to broad. I knew that I liked physics because I could spend hours on YouTube watching educational videos on all sorts of physics topics. I began to think about all the time I thought teaching would be fun. I talked about the idea of teaching with a bunch of people whose opinion I respected. I got overwhelming support from everyone around me and made me feel like I was not making some crazy mistake that I would regret all my life (which was a real thought I had).

      The hardest part in making the decision was to finally decide to do what I wanted to do versus doing what other people told me I needed to do. I have not for a single moment regretted my decision, with each step I take towards becoming a teacher I realize I am more passionate and excited about a career in teaching physics.
       

    • Mallory Kennedy
      Mallory Kennedy

      My name is Mallory Kennedy. I am currently an undergraduate biology major with a minor in secondary education. My mother and father (and my grandmother, my cousin, and my aunt) are teachers. After school I would always go to my father’s classroom and listen to his biology lectures, he had such passion for the subject, and he made sure every student understood what his presentation was for the day. As I got older, I started to write down my own questions about the lesson for the day and we would discuss the answers on the way home. I believe this is where my love for biology began.

      However, growing up in a small northeast Texas town, not everyone had the same passion that my father had instilled in me. As I moved forward in my education, I found myself loving biology, chemistry, and physics more and more with each week. This wasn’t something that was considered cool in my town. Kids began to label me as a weirdo and teachers began to do the same. I started to lose my love for the sciences as I tried to fit in, but it never seemed to work. The names from both the other children and teachers only grew worse. 

      As opposed to giving into this hatred, which could not have been done without the help of my mother, I promised to encourage others to love themselves and to love science. I wasn’t sure how to make this new dream a reality until one day I realized the answer was right in front of me. My dream was to become a STEM educator. While I will always carry their words with me, I have learned how to use them to fuel my passion even further. I feel it is my duty to provide a safe place for all students to learn and chase their dreams. 

      I intend on becoming a high school biology teacher to encourage others to follow their passion despite what others tell them. Most sciences are something difficult and many students find themselves disliking the sciences and I feel as though it is my purpose to show others how fun biology can be. I would love to go on and get certified in chemistry and physics after getting my feet in the water. Until then, I cannot wait to follow in my family’s footsteps and hopefully make the next generation love science and education as much as my family does.

    • Jessica Hobbs
      Jessica Hobbs

      My name is Jessica Hobbs. I’m pursuing a degree in biology with a minor in physics. My mom is a teacher and my dad loved science and passed that down to me and my sister. He would spend any free afternoon showing us all the scientific wonders around us. And my mom became one of the best teachers in my hometown. She is an amazing teacher and strives for success for all her students. Through my parents I began to love science and began to love understanding the complexities of the concepts. 

      But I definitely didn’t always know I was going to be a teacher, in fact its been more of a back and forth battle for me. It first started when I was sitting in my junior year physics class, and I realized the need for a better teacher. My teacher tried her best, but she was not prepared to teach physics, nor did she want to, and this was evident in the quality of our education of the subject. I spent my year reteaching/tutoring my fellow classmates. That’s probably the first time I found out that I love helping people enjoy learning about science. All I wanted was for everyone to have a passion for science. Once I got to college, I was conflicted between pursuing a job as a teacher or pursuing a career in research/conservation.

      Just as I was beginning to drift away from the idea of teaching, I found the Learning Assistant program in the physics department. I have always loved physics even though I thought I would never be able to do anything in the field. The program changed my whole outlook on the field. I loved learning the material and I loved getting to help other students understand concepts. It quickly became my favorite part of going to school. Yet, I still didn’t connect the dots between my love of LA and becoming a STEM educator. My second year as an LA really opened my eyes to the fact that I could be a great teacher.

      Now I’m planning on becoming a high school biology and/or physics teacher. I want to show students that anyone can and should pursue their passions for science. I want my classroom to be a place where my students can embrace who they are and challenge themselves. My life has had some twists and turns, but teaching has always been the path I come back to.

    • Austin McCauley
      Austin McCauley

      When I first arrived at Texas State University, I had no idea what I wanted to do here; I remember sitting in the undergraduate admissions office and staring blankly at the advisor when she asked what I wanted to declare as my major. Apparently, that doesn’t mean making a declarative statement out loud for the world to hear but making a choice and then following a degree plan. The only thing I knew at the time was that I wanted to go to school and for me to use the GI Bill I had to declare a major. I declared the only major I was aware of at the time, Health and Fitness Management, which was my roommates major.

      That was my major for nearly two years until one night I was sitting at home with my roommate, a different one this time, who was working on his engineering homework. I remember he was working on an analysis of an RC-Circuit when he started showing me how he was solving the problem and how the circuit worked. I was so intrigued that I ignored all my homework and sat with him until we finished his. This was my first inclination that I was in the wrong major. Shortly after this night, I finished my fourth semester of being a Health and Fitness major. This is when I made an appointment with an advisor and switched my major to Electrical Engineering. This was the start of my engagement in my education and my first introduction to Physics.

      As an Electrical Engineering major, I was required to take the three-calculus based introductory physics courses. I had never taken a physics class in my life to this point and was immediately captivated by the subject. I felt as though I had found a direction in my life. I still wasn’t sure what that direction was or where it was leading to, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace when thinking about a future in Physics, regardless of my struggle to learn the material.

      This is when I first heard of the LA program. It seemed like it would be the perfect place for me to better develop my physics knowledge, while also making some money. Once I was in the program, after much recruiting from a professor, I slowly started realizing I was learning more about myself as a person and not just physics concepts. I noticed myself stopping to listen to other people more. I was listening to understand what someone was saying, and I would try to comprehend their thoughts from their perspective and not just my own. I felt myself being excited to go to the classes I was an LA in. I felt like I had a purpose. That is when it dawned on me: I want to teach. 

      I thought back to when I was a Health and Fitness major and how I felt funneled down a career path. I didn’t have any problems with the career paths of being a teacher or coach, but I knew the path I was on wasn’t right. When I started thinking about being a teacher again, this time approaching it from a physics major path, it felt different, it felt right. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a Physics teacher. 

      My whole life I’ve always questioned the why of things and at this point I knew I wanted to be a physics teacher, but I still didn’t know why. After much reflection and many nights talking with family and friends into the early morning hours, I realized why. I want to give students that same feeling of belonging and purpose that I feel because of my professors. I want to be that voice of encouragement for a student when they are questioning their abilities in school. I feel the best way for me to do this is by teaching. Teaching is when I feel the most comfortable, and I’m the most excited talking about physics. Following this path gives me a chance to have a positive impact on others, potentially even people like my past self, who just need the extra push in the right direction.
       

    • Cassandra Danhoff
      Cassandra Danhoff

      Hello! My name is Cassandra (Cassy) Danhof, and I am an Interdisciplinary Science major, meaning I want to try to teach all of high science: Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Also, I am terrible at trying to write and evaluate my own personal experience, but I’m going to try (don’t judge me too much). 

      If a young Cassy were told what I was doing today, I don’t think she would believe me. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress. I loved the idea of immersing myself into this world I didn’t know and manipulating it so that it was mine. I even was in a few plays in middle and high school, but for one reason or another, that didn’t stick for me. Then - because of my high school Chemistry class - I thought I wanted to be a nurse. I liked the idea of integrating my ideas in science and helping people along the way. But again, for one reason or another, that didn’t stick either. The moral of the story is when I was searching all throughout high school and the first half of my college years, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had a couple of passions; I loved being creative, solving ideas, and helping people, but I didn’t know how to combine those into a profession I would want to be in. 

      Then one day I had a conversation with my mom about how frustrated I was with my current situation. A little backstory into this conversation: I was 1 year into community college, volunteering at my church’s preschool for the past few years, just finished an information session at the UT Health Science Center for nursing programs, and hated it. She told me that I should consider going into elementary education since I was so good with the preschoolers at church. I was curious about this notion, so I took a general education course, which had us go and do observations anywhere we want. I took advantage of this. I did observations everywhere - from elementary school English to middle school Math, and everything in-between. At the same time, I was taking my General Chemistry course in community college and falling back in love with the subject just as I did in high school. One thing led to another, and I found myself back in my old high school classroom with the same teacher I had so many years ago, running around her little lab and helping students curiously learn Chemistry. With that, I was hooked. 

      Now, I don’t think I will ever go back on my decision. With all the experience Texas State has given me in teaching pretty much every science topic available, I have just fallen more in love with teaching and learning. I want my high school students - no matter what path they go - to feel that love for learning too. 
       

    • Travis Eaton
      Travis Eaton

      It has been a long and indirect path to getting to where I am today. It has also been a great time getting to where I am today. It started with a stint in the United States Military, followed by a technology degree that was not meant for a single dad with custody, and then a great time at the Y.M.C.A. working with youth. I had always wanted to be an educator as helping people understand the ambiguous felt rewarding. The Y.M.C.A. job was great as it fostered that desire to encourage youth, but it did not financially support my son and myself. Therefore, I had to go back to college to get a bachelor’s degree to make the move towards teaching.

      Texas State University’s Biochemistry degree was a challenge and a wonderful time, but teaching was not going to occur without a certification. Certifications are not free, and we were as broke as the Ten Commandments. I really had no idea how I was going to pull the next step off as a single dad, paying the bills, and having to put in my semester of full-time student teaching (you do not get paid for the full-time student teaching).

      Now I am in my second semester of my graduate degree which is a Masters in Education degree through the Teachers Readiness Program (T.R.P.) at Texas State University. I know my son and I are managing better than any pathway I could think of. This is all thanks to the people who chose me for this scholarship and the RADIANS teacher scholarship itself. Such a large help for such a little amount of time in return. The meetings are fun, the recipients are bright and happy people, and the information is so insightful.

      Through practice of these shared ideas, thoughtful effort, consistency, and masters courses a productive and enjoyable class experience will be attained. I look forward to helping mentor and guidance young members of society, who can work together, and feel as if they belong to something bigger that is moving towards a higher level of thinking.

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    • Lisa Vu
      Lisa Vu

      I remember back in elementary and middle school, science was NOT my thing. Come to think of it, even in high school. The only class that stood out to me that was science was chemistry. If you asked 16-year-old me back then as to why, I may have not been able to give an honest answer, but I also wouldn’t even know how to answer. I just remembered that chemistry was always my favorite class to go to because things made sense. Sense as in I was easily capable of doing chemistry, but I “lacked” the deeper understanding. I was very much a surface and strategic level thinker and that followed me all the way up through college and a year in nursing school, in which it didn’t work out. Completely devastated. My dad told me that I still had to continue with school, so I just decided to change my major to Chemistry and minor in Biology with the intent to go for pharmacy. Why? Because I had no idea what I wanted to do.

      Anyway, I started my Chemistry degree and Mechanics was one of my first few classes that got my attention. The learning and material came so smoothly. Then I came to realize that I have been approaching learning the “wrong” way. Before, I was learning by memorization and just to get the assignments done, not to understand the material and how that relates to anything. However, I did not come to this conclusion until I was in Mechanics where the Learning Assistant (LA) program was embedded into the teaching style and my professor was a super excited and caring teacher. Because of this program, I learned how to learn properly which made learning even more exciting. From there it was just a chain reaction. I decided to become an LA and then a lab instructor. Through these experiences, I loved that I could help students understand and make some sense in the material that they struggle with. I love seeing the “ooooo, I get it” face and the increase in confidence when I help. This also helped me become a better student. I also concluded as to why I loved chemistry back then. It was because my teacher cared for our learning. And that is one main reason why I want to become a high school teacher in STEM. I want to be that person that cares for student education and give them the opportunity to have the same excitement I had when I knew what learning was. 

      I have decided that I am doing an alternative teacher certification program through Texas Teachers and hopefully begin teaching by Fall 2019. 

      Learning is a wonderful and beautiful skill to acquire. I wish I did have this quality back then. However, I cannot change the past, but I can help the future by helping students learn. I do not want students to go through school and scrape by like I did. I want students to appreciate science and understand it because it is all around us. We would not have much growth of anything if science did not exist.