Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
Since 2016, I have served as the STEM Coordinator for the Olympic Educational Service District (OESD) in Bremerton, Washington. As a STEM Coordinator, I support the STEM needs of teachers, schools, and districts on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. I also collaborate with our Science, Math, and English Language Arts Coordinators to bring truly integrated STEM to those we serve. My work includes providing professional development workshops, individual teacher support, lesson plan development, custom-designed professional learning for schools and districts, and classroom visits. In addition, I have been a member of Achieve’s Science Peer Review Panel (PRP) since early 2018.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
My interest in science and passion for the outdoors started when I was a child, but I was in college when I finally realized that I could use my math and science skills to help the environment. My first career as an Environmental Engineer allowed me to directly contribute to restoring the environment. As an educator, my goal is to help foster future scientists, engineers, and citizens who are interested in remedying mistakes from our past and helping humanity grow into a more balanced future.
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My 8th-grade science teacher, Mr. Lines, was the first to help me realize that I could go to college. He encouraged my interests in science and math and never let me get away with anything less than my best. Since then, I have had many teachers, professors, colleagues, and professional mentors who have supported me in critical ways, and many students whose perseverance and “a-ha” moments inspire me to keep learning.
What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?
I find the interactions and relationships between teachers and students to be endlessly fascinating. Strong relationships are just as important as strong lesson plans! I try to consider how my work as a STEM Coordinator can support teachers in creating open, engaging, and productive environments for learning.
What other jobs led you to your current career?
My first jobs were in Environmental Engineering, including eight years working to assess and mitigate the environmental impacts of abandoned coal mines. I then switched my focus to education in the hopes of helping more people understand, care about, and be prepared to protect the environment. I taught for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana and then four years in public high schools in Philadelphia. Since leaving the classroom, I have been developing a STEM curriculum, providing professional development, and supporting teachers and schools.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering - Bucknell University 1997
Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources - Princeton University 1998
Professional Engineer License - Pennsylvania 2003
Teaching Certificate - Drexel University 2012
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy hiking, gardening, bird watching, and exploring the outdoors with my dog. When the weather is less inviting, I retreat to my craft-related hobbies, including sewing and papercrafts. In all seasons, I love to cook and bake!
How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?
I am one of the many people who discovered the EV Nautilus team when the “Octopus Garden” video went viral in 2018. I was captivated by both the environmental spectacle and the Nautilus team. It was clear that the team was a well-coordinated group of highly trained and enthusiastic people who enjoyed working with each other and believed that their work was important. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a team like that? When I found out about the Science Communication Fellowship, I immediately started the application process. I am thrilled to be included in the 2020 exploration season and can’t wait to see what we discover together!
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
Move-in the direction of your curiosity and interest. Having a plan is great, but having a purpose is even better. Understanding your purpose will help you move forward even when plans change.