I didn’t choose FSU; I like to think that FSU chose me. I began pursuing my graduate degree with FSU after seeking new pedagogical techniques I could use teaching SCUBA diving while working as the Dive Technician at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. After some introductory courses, I was invited to join the School of Teacher Education in the College of Education as a graduate student. FSU chose me; which makes pursuing this degree all the more meaningful.
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 in order to contribute to the ongoing effort as stakeholders push towards 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 including 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 is to create more equitable science learning environments which invite students’ preconceptions and past experiences in order to teach science in an effective manner.
After the Ph.D., I would like to work at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) aquarium where I can plan and implement institutional culturally responsive practices within the education programs.
Advice for anyone considering graduate school
We live in a society that competitively pushes us to quickly start graduate school directly after undergraduate school. My advice for anyone considering graduate school is to deeply evaluate your situation and take your time with this huge decision. Graduate school is a long-term, humbling commitment that should be carefully considered. But, when you know it’s time, don’t procrastinate on your dreams.
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 a Tallahassee summer school program. It’s such a blessing to be able to use my developing skills to teach STEM in meaningful ways to my students and it motivates me to continue through my program so I may facilitate such learning on a larger scale. I am also a McKnight Doctoral Fellow!