Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?
I am currently a 7th and 8th grade science teacher in Corpus Christi, Texas at Cunningham Middle School. I teach at a Title I school and would like to dedicate my career to helping troubled students develop a passion for learning, and spread the excitement of what scientific discovery has to offer. In teaching two grade levels, I have the opportunity to engage students in a variety of different subject areas that include scientific investigation and reasoning, earth and space science, matter, energy, organisms, environments, force, and motion.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I started my career as a caseworker with Child Protective Services. I have always wanted to brighten the future of children and give back to the community. However, after just over a year with the company, I felt like I was not giving back enough. I wanted to spend more time with youth and instill in them a sense of self-worth and achievement. So, I transitioned to teaching in order to have a better opportunity to impact children's lives.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My family has always been my foundation. My parents have instilled in me a passion for learning and achievement that has influenced me to never settle. I have been very lucky to always have an unwavering support system to allow me the opportunity to go for my dreams, and help others achieve their dreams. My parents, husband, and siblings have given me a healthy curiosity and ability to continuously search for further knowledge. Without them, I would not be where I am today.
What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?
As a teacher, the best part of my work is getting to see students GROW. It is unbelievably rewarding to see a student grow academically and emotionally throughout a school year. I have the continual challenge of finding activities that connect with youth and force them to problem-solve and learn! I have the privilege of being a role model in all of my students' lives each and every day, and would like to instill in them a passion for lifelong learning.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
Previously, after graduating college, I worked with families and youth within the foster care system with Child Protective Services. These positions required a strong work ethic, excellent people skills, and a certain level of resiliency. In over a year with Child Protective Services, I referred hundreds of individuals to different services and gained an unprecedented amount of knowledge of the community resources available in our area. I also regularly worked within County Court at Law Number Five, from submitting regular court reports, to testifying in civil court cases. Now, I continue to try and impact my community by directly working with youth on an everyday basis within the classroom.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Associates of Science- Otero Junior College 2011; Bachelors of Art in Psychology, Minor in Criminology 2013
What are your hobbies?
I am an avid sports fan and athlete. I enjoy exercising and competing in local races. I love basketball, football, and track. I love being outdoors, hiking and spending time with my dog Gizmo. Recently, I have been learning how to surf. I enjoy spending much of my spare time at the beach!
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
If you want to be a teacher, you first need to have a passion for learning and working with children. As a teacher, you need a strong work ethic to put in lots of time after hours planning and researching curriculum. Additionally, it helps to have strong organizational and time management skills. Most importantly, you have to be innovative and determined to impact students' lives so that they have the opportunity to become productive young minds in our communities.
How did you get involved in the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?
I attended a CITGO STEM training event in Houston, Texas. I left the training feeling over the moon excited about the innovative approach to learning that the Nautilus and the Ocean Exploration Trust created. I immediately applied for the Nautilus Ambassador Program and was invited to join!