Throughout my field experiences, I feel that I have developed proficiency as a content expert, reflective practitioner, effective collaborator, and educational leader.

With regard to my content expertise, I am very passionate about being a life-long learner and engendering this same passion for learning in my students. I will be graduating summa cum laude from William and Mary with a grade point average of 3.95. Throughout my time at William and Mary, I've taken advantage of a wide variety of courses within my discipline. Such courses include microbiology, conservation biology, botany, zoology, developmental biology, neurophysiology, etc. I've also gained experience in the content area through my summer research at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Throughout the summer, I participated in a laboratory study regarding seed germination and a field study regarding conservation of a threatened violet species. My experiences in research have helped me to understand the nature of scientific inquiry and better prepared me to provide my students with authentic research experiences. During my student teaching, I've viewed the content from a pedagogical lens and designed activities that maximize student understanding of specific subject matter.

Searching for Aquatic Organisms with Students at the Chicago Botanic Garden

As previously mentioned, I believe that active reflection is an integral component to becoming a more effective teacher. During my practicum experiences, I maintained a blog, which helped me to organize my reflections and make meaningful changes to my planning and instruction. Additionally, I feel that my proficiency as a reflective practitioner is well l exemplified by the self-study I conducted in Summer 2010. In this study, I reflected upon my assumptions and beliefs about diverse student populations to better prepare myself to teach in high need contexts. The product of this research, a reflective article, has been used in instructional methods courses at two universities and has been accepted for publication to the Journal of Virginia Science Education.

Within my student teaching placement, I have collaborated effectively with a number of other educators. For one, I work very closely with another student teacher at New Kent High School, and strive to make sure that we share ideas and learn from each other whenever possible. I have also been very lucky to work with a cooperating teacher who encourages me to share my ideas and together we have developed many instructional activities and assessments. Additionally, I have participated in professional development in-service programs, and have gained valuable ideas regarding differentiating instruction from teachers at my placement school.

Assisting Students with the Sea Star Dissection
Though I do not have much formal teaching experience, I feel that I have, in some capacity, served as an educational leader. I have done significant research regarding teacher preparation for high need schools, and have been published twice--once as a co-author and once as a primary author. The second paper has been assigned as required reading in two instructional methods courses and has received an award through the Association of Teacher Educators - VA. A news briefing regarding the article has been featured on William and Mary's website.

During my time in William and Mary's School of education.I have also served as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) student chapter President at William and Mary and organized participation of the chapter in the USA Science and Engineering Festival. At New Kent, I have integrated myself as much as possible into the school culture, and have assumed a coaching roll with the track team in addition to my student teaching responsibilities. I feel it is very important for teachers to be involved in all aspects of the school, and I have found coaching to be an excellent way to better understand the perspectives of students and fellow teachers alike.