Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?
I am a Social Studies Teacher who specializes in Texas history. I teach 6th and 7th-grade social studies at the middle school level. I have a Bachelors degree in Counseling. Originally I was pursuing a career as a school counselor working with youth at risk. However, when I began teaching I was offered a job teaching history, so I accepted. After a short time, I realized how much I enjoyed history especially Texas History and I have been teaching it ever since. Now I can truly say I love it because not only do we get to read about it, we can go and see it up close and personal. I am also a coach for football, basketball, and track.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
Initially, I was inspired by teachers who encouraged me all during my childhood. However, it was not until I left the military and began coaching that I realized that I had been teaching throughout my life. It was such a natural part of my life so I had never considered it for as a career. I began substitute teaching and coaching and other teachers began telling me how I could use my degree to get my certification to be a teacher. So I did and the rest is history, four years later I am still teaching.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My sixth-grade science teacher was the most encouraging because she allowed me to see school in a different way. I already enjoyed school but she opened up my mind to the possibilities and exposed me to a whole world of ideas. Not only did she teach me science but she allowed me to learn in a way that made sense to me. Everything she taught was hands on, not just what is found in a textbook. She even allowed me to bring my pet alligator to school and show him to the other student. I would take my alligator to different classrooms and demonstrate how to put him to sleep rubbing his belly. I remember those days as being enjoyable and imprinting something on me that never left me. Today I am still inspired by those early years in my teaching philosophy, reaching a kid by any means necessary. By that I mean finding out what a kid is interested in, whatever that might be to reach him or her, to open up their minds to the possibilities.
What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?
The most fascinating part of my work is that I get to walk through Texas History with my students. I feel fortunate that we can visit historical sites around Texas to see for ourselves where the actual events occurred. Most fascinating of all is when the lights come on in their minds and they fully understand the history that happened around them. Reaching kids by taking them to see when, where, how, and why things occurred in the past so that they may shape their future. This is my goal in teaching to reach them through history.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I was a coach for the past 20 years in multiple sports including football, basketball, and soccer. I was a youth counselor at church and a camp counselor. I was an instructor in the military for electronic communications and a physical fitness instructor. I was also a mentor for youth at-risk.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science Degree in Counseling
What are your hobbies?
I like weightlifting, running, bike riding and cooking. I also like reading and playing chess.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?
I would say that you would have to genuinely love kids, the good, the bad and the ugly. By ugly I mean their behaviors, not their appearance, because they are all beautiful.
How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?
While teaching at Cunningham Middle School I met Katelyn Lowen who participated in the Ambassador program last year. I saw how she was involved and helped with the STEM night for students and the community at our school. She told me about the possibility of an opening through the continued growth of the Community STEM Program with CITGO. I applied and got accepted.