Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?
I teach fourth-grade math and science. I also sponsor the Engineering is Elementary club, as well as the fourth-grade math team.
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I come from a family of educators on my mom's side. I, of course, thought I would be on the Supreme Court by now, but God had other plans for me! Growing up in Los Angeles, the ocean has always been fascinating to me. I would watch the French explorer Jacques Cousteau aboard the ocean explorer Calypso on television as a child. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be a part of an exploration team. I am truly blessed!
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
Education was always a priority with my parents. One day my late aunt, Delores Drake Perkins (an educator), said to me, "You need to go to school to become a teacher." I am so glad I listened to her and my mother. I have always loved math as a student, however, science was another story. When I was in school, I always found science to be boring unless we were conducting an experiment. That all changed when I began science method classes at McNeese State University under Dr. Sandra Leder. There a light went off, and I began to understand more. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know and share!
What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?
Teaching science has changed over the last couple of years. Incorporating STEM into the curriculum has motivated students more than I have ever experienced! My students ask daily, "Do we have a STEM challenge today?" Students want to be challenged and the conversation in my classroom fascinates me. Sometimes it's that struggling student that comes up with the most brilliant ideas!
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I had other career opportunities, but none as gratifying as teaching. I do believe there's a reason for everything we experience in life. That reason may simply be to help others through something we have already experienced. Every career opportunity I experienced has led me to my calling. I am a very blessed educator. I am grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to experience life aboard Nautilus while making contributions to ocean exploration!
What are your degrees and certifications?
Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education Grades 1-8- McNeese State University 2007
What are your hobbies?
I love reading, watching movies, and video calling my grandchildren. I am involved in Bible Study at my church, Warren United Methodist, where I also sing in the choir.
What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?
I have a favorite quote pertaining to teaching, "Teachers are in for the outcome, not the income."
How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?
CITGO, McNeese State University's Engineering Department, and Calcasieu Parish School Board's STEM Department are sponsors for our after-school Engineering Is Elementary Club. Last fall, CITGO emailed a flyer announcing their Community STEM Night, a celebration of National STEM Day. As part of the celebration, an educator would be chosen as the CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year with the opportunity to serve as an ambassador aboard Nautilus. As I read the flyer I told my principal, "I want to go on that ship!". I was honored that my Principal submitted a letter for my nomination. I attended STEM Night, and to my surprise, I was named the CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year for Lake Charles, Louisiana!