Diane BlennerDiane Blenner
Background: I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Materials Science. The last few years I have been working in the chemical industry.
Why I want to teach: I enjoy helping others and love to see them learn something new. I also wanted to be in a profession where I could be a lifelong learner.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: I had been working with chemical plant operators who have limited traditional education. The production team started to notice that the quality of the products started to decrease slowly and when the chemists were talking to the operators, noticed that they didn’t understand the chemicals they were adding to the reactors. I put together a program that introduced the chemicals on a microscopic level as well as a large plant level. I was able to include all of the technical content required to understand the process and at the same time made it relatable. It made a huge impact on me to never underestimate people. The delivery, experiences, and applicability end up playing a large role in me being able to transfer information that I know (or think I know) to others.
Goals and Aspirations: The process of life-long learning, sharing of knowledge and skills is one of my deepest passions in the teaching field.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: I have limited experience teaching so far, but I would say that it is important to realize that teaching is a learning experience itself. It will take time to develop the skills to become an effective teacher.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: The Noyce TigersTeach scholarship represents an opportunity to receive an excellent education without the worry and stress of student loans. I am excited to engage in activities outside the standard curriculum.
Olivia ForresterOlivia Forrester
Background: I grew up on a farm in Greenpond, SC, where I developed a profound love for animals. I attended Clemson University and majored in Animal and Veterinary Science. During my time as a pre-vet student, I completed an internship with the Greenville Zoo Education Department, where I realized my love for teaching. Now I’ve begun the Secondary MAT program at Clemson, where I’m focusing on secondary science education.
Why I want to teach: Growing up, I first wanted to be a teacher. As I got older and became interested in science, I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian. I picked, and stuck with, the pre-vet program at Clemson when I started my undergraduate course of study. I truly loved the program, and enjoyed every class I took. However, I eventually realized that being a veterinarian was not the career path for me. Through my internship at the Greenville Zoo, I realized that I loved teaching. I enjoyed every day of teaching camps and working with the kids.
Goals and Aspirations: My goals at this point are to finish the program and become the best teacher that I can be. I want to make a difference in students’ lives and encourage them to be interested in science.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: During my internship, I encountered so many different kids. My most memorable class was a group of kids that I worked with during the second week of the program. These kids were so excited to be in the program that it made teaching them so much fun.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: I just started the MAT program and don’t have much experience teaching in a formal setting. I would say that enthusiasm is very important, though. I believe that if you’re enthusiastic about your material, students will be too.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: The TigersTeach scholarship means a lot to me. It is allowing me the opportunity to enroll in this program, as well make contacts with exceptional people, when I otherwise may not have been able to.
Pauli JettPauli Jett
Background: I am an animal-lover and have always enjoyed being outdoors, exploring the world around me. I grew up in a rural Bamberg, SC, near the Edisto River, and spent the majority of my childhood observing nature, asking questions, and burying myself in books. It was a natural choice for me to major in Biological Sciences at Clemson University, where I graduated with my B.S. in December 2012.
Why I want to teach: When I began my undergraduate education, all that I knew for certain was that I loved science, particularly the life sciences. I had several career options in mind, and hoped that taking classes focused on different aspects of biology would help me to narrow my professional interests. Instead, my interests only grew more varied and upon graduation I found myself still unsure as to what career I should pursue. I began tutoring at Greenville Technical College, and it was there that I found my passion for sharing my love of science with students. I consider myself to be a life-long learner, and continually developing a greater understanding of my surroundings by studying biology and other sciences has been an incredible source of joy for me. As a teacher, I hope to encourage and motivate my students so that they will also develop a greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of our world.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: I tutor biology at Greenville Technical College, and many of the students who come to me struggle with science classes. One student in particular had been working with me regularly and about halfway through the semester, she brought in her first lab report assignment. Writing a lab report for the first time is difficult, and she was worried that she would do poorly. I helped her break the assignment into mini-due dates, coached her through developing a set of steps for writing each section, and encouraged her by praising her hard work on the assignment. She made 100% on the lab report and raised her grade by a full letter. She was so proud of her work and began to take ownership of her grade in the class, and her success with the lab report seemed to motivate her to do well for the rest of the semester. I think I was even more proud of her than she was, and it’s the success stories like this that motivate me to become a teacher.
Goals and Aspirations: My goal as a teacher is to show my students that science is both fun and relevant. Even though I know that all of my students will not leave my class with a burning desire to become scientists, I want them to gain an appreciation for science and know that a basic understanding of it will benefit them in their daily lives.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: I would encourage you to ask yourself why you want to teach. If it’s because you’re passionate for your subject area and care about students becoming successful, teaching would be a great way to turn your passion into a meaningful career. However, if teaching is just a job to you, neither you nor your students will enjoy the time spent in your classroom.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: The TigersTeach Noyce program has made it possible for me to pursue the education I need to become an effective teacher, without having to worry as much about the cost of tuition. The program also offers professional development beyond what is offered in the classroom, allowing me to get the most out of my graduate degree. It’s an investment in my career, but more importantly it’s an investment in the education of my future students.
Lauren LooperLauren Looper
Background: I am from Easley, SC and have loved Clemson since I was a little girl. When choosing a college to attend, I had no problem making the decision to come to Clemson. After four great years, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Biological Sciences. I then decided to stay at Clemson for a while and pursue my degree in Secondary Education through the MAT program.
Why I want to teach: My high school biology teacher, Mrs. Jan Burroughs, had a lot to do with my decision to become a teacher. Because of her, I loved all of my biology classes in high school and really fell in love with the subject. When I went to college, I wanted to pursue a degree in medicine, but I became involved in a volunteer organization called Young Life and my mind quickly changed. Through Young Life, I have had the opportunity to be in a high school setting for the past four years. I have met some amazing high school students and I realized that I love working with that age group. I hope to be able to connect with students on their level and show them that they are loved, appreciated, and have the capacity to excel in learning. All too often, I see students who think that science is not “for them”. I hope to teach students about how exciting and relevant science can be in their life and, hopefully, get them more interested in the subject.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences:: When I started getting involved in Young Life in college, I went to a nearby high school two to three times a week during the students’ lunch period. I didn’t know many of the students at all and would sit down with different tables of students during lunch. It was really amazing to meet so many different teenagers and hear their stories. One day in particular, I sat down with a table of seniors and just started having a conversation with them about school. As I continued to sit with them over the next few months, I learned so much about them, their home lives, and their education. I quickly saw that so many of these students had hard home lives and it affected their motivation in school. This really has been stuck in the back of my mind and I constantly think about how this experience will make me a better teacher. I hope that I can show students that they have a teacher that genuinely cares about them and their progress in school. I hope that if students do not get attention or praise at home, that I will be able to help with that in school. By doing so, I hope that their motivation will increase and they will want to learn and excel because someone has shown them that they care.
Goals and Aspirations: At this point, I am working towards becoming a high school biology teacher. I hope to enrich and inspire these teenagers and help them learn to love science. Eventually, I hope to get a doctorate degree and expand my options for working within the school system.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: I would tell anyone who wants to teach to really make sure that they love the students. Every single day, these students are coming into our classroom wanting to be loved and accepted. While these students are in our care, it is our job as a teacher to make sure that they know that they are important and can make a difference. If you don’t have heart for high school kids, it can be hard being a teacher. Every day teaching will pose its own challenges, but remembering that these students are your kids for a few hours will really help you to deal with those challenges in a way that will benefit yourself and your students.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: The TigersTeach Program is an amazing program that I have been blessed to be a part of. I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to change my career path so easily. This program helped a lot in getting me on the track that I truly have a heart for. I also am so excited that the information that I learn gets to be used in a classroom where students might be at risk for not graduating high school. I see the potential in all students and I want them to learn to the best of their ability and truly become interested in school. I hope that what I learn from this program can make me a better teacher and motivator for these students.
Background: I graduated from North Greenville University with a degree in Biology in 2012. My family moved to South Carolina in 2001, and I have finally learned to claim the South as my home. I originally planned on going into medicine, but with a year off from school, I decided to pursue my love for teaching instead.
Why I want to teach: I remember in high school not enjoying science – specifically biology and chemistry. It was not due to my lack of interest in the subject, but due to the fact that my teachers did not inspire me to learn. I was a TA and tutor throughout my college career and genuinely enjoyed teaching people. When I got to college, my professors encouraged me in my love of science and to pursue learning. Because of the relationships I made with my professors, I became encouraged to hopefully do the same for others.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: In my year off, I have worked with Chick-fil-A and with many of the high school students as their manager. I grew to love working with the students, and I actually started tutoring some of them. One of my favorite parts of this was seeing them understand the material as well as getting excited about it. That contributed to encouraging me to teach at the high school level.
Goals and Aspirations: Right now, I am very intent on learning as much as I can about being a great teacher. I am excited about working with students and getting into the classroom!
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: Go for it! Honestly, I was worried about what people might say when I told them I was going to pursue teaching instead of medicine. However people have been so supportive of me as I take this route. I truly hope it’s because they see my passion for teaching. If you want to teach, pursue it wholeheartedly!
What the TigersTeach program means to me: TigersTeach has provided me with such a great opportunity to be a part of the MAT program. It has taken a great burden of stress off of me so I can focus on my studies. The MAT program has given me the opportunity to do life and learn alongside others who have the same goals in mind. I am so grateful for everything that the TigersTeach and MAT program has provided for me.
Jodi MonroeJodi Monroe
Background: I received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1997 from Charleston Southern University and began a career as a ‘Stay-at-Home-Mom’ and operated a tutoring business for many years.
Why I want to teach: All the time I spent tutoring, so many students said that they wished I was their teacher. I want to use my gifts to build a love for math in young people and walk beside them as they make discoveries about math.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: I had the opportunity to teach a small summer school Geometry class. The kids were bright, but struggled with the material and needed to repeat the course. One of the girls went to her parents and said they had never understood math better and that I had made the material so easy to understand. Another young man told his parents, he had never been so excited about math before. This incredible feedback inspired me to want to teach.
Goals and Aspirations: One of the largest obstacles I see with students’ math skills is often created by gaps in the elementary years. I hope to spend several years gaining experience in the high school classroom and gathering evidence and data. It is a long term goal of mine, to teach and train methods of teaching math to elementary school teachers and be a part of early intervention. I am also interested in becoming a math coach at the elementary level after several years in the high school classroom. I hope to further my own education in teaching.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: I am so excited to be entering this field, but I would caution those considering this career, to consider if they actually enjoy being with young people. Are you compassionate, dedicated, and willing to work beyond your pay grade? I would advise them to spend time researching the career, state standards, and then interview several veteran teachers asking detailed questions. Then I would advise them to apply for the Secondary MAT program!!!
What the TigersTeach program means to me: The TigersTeach program has created this opportunity for me to pursue a long-time dream of completing my teaching certificate in a rigorous, experience-rich program while earning a Master’s Degree. The classes are accessible near my home and community, and I would not have been able to attend classes and complete this degree without the Secondary MAT.
Janel RaquetJanel Raquet
Background: I was born in Philadelphia, PA, but I moved to Hilton Head Island, SC when I was very young. I graduated from Furman University in May 2014 with my B.S. in Mathematics and started my graduate work at Clemson immediately after. I looked at various MAT programs, but Clemson was the right fit for me.
Why I want to teach: I had been considering teaching as a career for a long time, but never really made a commitment to pursue it until my senior year of college. I had always loved math and I knew I didn’t want a career where I would sit behind a desk all day. I slowly realized that one of the things I looked forward to everyday was tutoring local high school students in math. It is such a rewarding feeling to help a student understand a concept which they could not grasp on their own.
Goals and Aspirations: One of my goals as a teacher is to help students understand math in a way that is meaningful to them. I don’t just want them to memorize a formula, but I want them to be able to apply it to their lives. I don’t want my students to be scared of math. I want to make sure that they are prepared for their futures.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: If you are considering teaching I would recommend trying tutoring first to see if you enjoy it. Try to find an age group you like to teach and really get to know and care about the students you are tutoring.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: For me, being a Noyce Scholar means that I am getting the best preparation possible for my future career. It has allowed me to take the classes I need and introduced me to amazing educators and mentors. On top of that it allows me to put what I am learning into practice through different activities.
Lindsey RegaLindsey Rega
Background: I am from Blythewood, South Carolina. I began my career at Clemson by studying chemistry, not knowing what I wanted to do with that degree. I’ve worked with children for many years between tutoring, coaching, and working as a YMCA after school counselor. After taking several classes at Clemson and speaking to advisors, I knew that teaching is what I was being driven towards!
Why I want to teach: I want to be a teacher because of my love for science and working with kids. Chemistry and biology were always subjects that came easily to me and I was always interested to learn more. I hope to create that thirst for knowledge in my future students. It’s rewarding to know that I will play a role in shaping the minds of tomorrow.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: When working as a TigersTeach intern, I planned an activity for a group of fourth graders in the after school program – learning about states of matter. I began by asking who liked science. When a boy in the back of the room complained and said science is ‘lame’ and ‘boring’, I told him that he didn’t have to participate in the lesson. Then when he saw part of the activity and learned that we were making slime (from borax, water and glue), he quickly changed his mind and said, “This is so cool!” Just seeing one student change their mind and be engaged in learning was so exciting!
Goals and Aspirations: I hope to be an inspirational teacher and to convey my love for the sciences to my students. I also hope to learn from my students, as I recognize that everyone in a classroom has something unique and interesting to offer.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: Recognize that as an educator you have a duty to be both a teacher and a learner. Be open-minded and adaptive.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: This program is a great opportunity for me to learn more about the teaching profession and have access to different resources. Thanks to this program I will be able to afford my education, and then return the blessings that I have been given by helping to improve at-risk school districts.
Emily UlbrichtEmily Ulbricht
Background: I am a Mathematical Sciences and Secondary Education Double Major.
Why I want to teach: I want to change the negative connotation of mathematics in grade school by revealing its beauty. I also hope to positively impact the minds of our future by incorporating tolerance for diversity and strive for creativity.
Memorable teaching and learning experiences: My 11th grade Precalculus teacher made me want to teach math, but it wasn’t until a teaching internship fall semester of my freshman year that this desire solidified and became a passion.
Goals and aspirations: I’d like to teach high school math and then eventually teach college math.
Advice for those entering the teaching profession: If you are considering entering the teaching profession, try it out! I did so with the TigersTeach internship, but there are lots of ways to get an inside perspective of teaching. Every teaching experience will be different, but the only way to know if you might like it is to try it one way or another.
What the TigersTeach program means to me: The TigersTeach program has given me reassurance of my goals and the opportunity to gain teaching experience in the Clemson area as I work on my degrees.