CalTeach B.A. in Chemistry
School of Education
May 1, 2011
“I believe that becoming a teacher is the most rewarding career out there.”
As a child growing up, I never thought of myself as a great student, let alone a good student. I always got into trouble and was careless about school. These struggles followed me throughout middle and high school. It got to the point where I was not going to graduate from high school. At that stage in my academic journey, I did not care about what my future entailed. Fortunately, I maintained a sufficient amount of interest in my classes to pass and graduate from high school.
Luckily with the help of my family, I was convinced to give school a second chance and decided to attend Mount San Antonio College. As a new student I was required to take a placement exam for English and math, where I placed in the lowest possible courses for both. With a little perseverance and patience, I continued taking math courses until my final year when I finally completed the highest math course available at my community college, linear algebra and differential equations. After overcoming these courses, I decided to become involved with the campus tutoring program where I tutored mathematics and helped other students with mathematics, a subject that I once dreaded. After also tutoring chemistry, I joined the chemistry club in order to become a part of the campus community. I eventually became vice-president os the club and connected with the campus as a student leader. Through my exploration of chemistry and through mentorship from Kenneth Huang, a chemistry faculty member at my community college, I decided to become an educator. I never thought in a million years that I would decide to become a teacher.
The summer prior to my official transfer to the University of California, Irvine, I participated in the UCI TEACH Math & Science Program with Roslyn Soto. The following year I served as a Residential Advisor for the program. By participating in the UCI TEACH program, I was introduced to the warm and welcoming people of UCI California Teach Science & Math Program, where I eventually met my mentor and dear friend, Jose Ramirez. Having a mentor at this large campus is something to which I attribute my success here at UCI. Jose has always been there for me and has given me all the support I have needed because he genuinely wants all of the students he comes in contact with to succeed. Enrolling in the Cal Teach courses my first year at UCI, which were being taught by Karajean Hyde, Kris Houston, and Terry Shanahan positively accelerated my understanding of teaching exponentially, and the accompanying development of advantageous skill sets to be used in the classroom are priceless experiences. Now, being a Cal Teach Peer Advisor for the program for the past year, I have been able to help other students in the program as my mentor has helped me.
Another influential part of my academic journey was joining a research group directed by Dr. Rachel Martin during my second year. I joined Martin’s Lab working with a protein found in eye lenses and I am humbly grateful to have learned so much from the group. Dr. Martin whole-heartily encouraged me to try new research ideas, participate in research opportunities such as the UROP Symposium at UCI, and attend national conferences. The research experience gained from working in the Martin Lab has been both challenging and rewarding. It has further reassured my pursuit of a career in teaching.
In the summer of 2010, I had an all-expense paid Cal Teach internship to conduct both scientific and educational research at UC Berkeley. Throughout my stay at the campus, the faculty members demonstrated and reaffirmed the idea that I learned and appreciated from the Martin laboratory: research and education can co-exist in the same space.
I have been fortunate enough to have admirable mentors in my life that made a significant impact on my academic and professional development. I now want to make a difference in a student’s life once I become a faculty member. I believe that becoming a teacher is the most rewarding career out there, and I will continue everyday to strive towards my goal.
This Fall semester, I look forward to begin my pursuit of a Ph. D. in Chemistry at the University of Southern California. At USC I will utilize the skill sets that I gained from the Cal Teach courses at UCI and in the Martin Lab to become an efficient and effective teacher.
Undoubtedly, I am a true example that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.