Noyce Scholars: Class of 2014-2015
Allison Ashburn, University of Arkansas
I received a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in astronomy from my undergrad institution and started my graduate school career working towards an MS in physics with plans to get a Ph.D. in astronomy, but the plan for my life changed after I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for the introductory physics course. I realized that I adored teaching, and as I reflected upon my own experiences in introductory physics courses, I realized that much of my passion for physics stemmed from the enthusiasm of my high school teacher. I was curious if this was a trend, so I talked to a few of my friends who had chosen a STEM field other than physics. Many of these other students speculated that they had been deterred from physics by their experiences with their own secondary education teachers. I knew then that I wanted to be on the "front lines" of education and spur interest in the STEM fields in students before they attended college. With this new goal, I am now working towards my MA in physics and my MA in teaching with plans to become a high school physics teacher after graduation.
Adam Hastings, Western Michigan University
I am a senior at Western Michigan University pursuing a degree in Secondary Education with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics. I have always loved physics ever since my first physics course in high school. However, upon entering WMU, I was initially pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. It did not take long for me to realize that engineering was not the place for me. My true passion is in teaching and learning physics. I will be completing my internship in the Fall of 2014 and I am excited to begin my career as a physics teacher. I find it extremely rewarding to work with students and exposing them to situations that allow them to analyze the physical world.
Sam McClellan, Ball State University
I am currently studying Physics Education at Ball State University. My high school physics course is where I first seriously considered teaching physics as a future career. We were working on the subject of "impact," but a friend of mine could not understand the concept. No amount of terminology was helping her either. She was a cheerleader, specifically a flyer, for the high school cheer team. With that in mind, I explained "impact" to her by using her experience with cheering as an analogy, which helped her understand. As I have pursued my goal of becoming a teacher in college I have had many other opportunities to help my peers understand what they are studying and I thoroughly enjoy it. While I have been at Ball State, I have come to realize that, while physics does hold a place of particular interest in my heart, it's actually the people that drive me to teach. I desire to serve students in their educational pursuits, and combined with my love for physics, teaching high school has proved to be the best option for me to serve future students.
Nicholas Strange, Ball State University
My dream since elementary school was to be a meteorologist. There was something about chasing tornadoes and flying through hurricanes that really sparked my interest. This fascination remained with me until my sophomore year of college, when I began to realize that meteorology was not my ultimate goal in life. I loved the science and math behind it, but I needed some maturing to realize my true passions. As my sophomore year moved along, I quickly began to see that I had a zeal and knack for serving others, and after tutoring friends with high school and college physics, I knew that teaching physics was the ideal way to combine my real interests. I look forward to the opportunity I will have to give students the education they deserve. Our current education system is letting its students down, and I want to be a part of the solution.
Besides physics, I enjoy tennis, auto racing, and horror movies. I have also developed a passion for mission work; I recently completed a water sanitation/medical brigade to Ghana, Africa, and I hope I get the chance to go back!
Marcus Tubbs, California State University Long Beach
I've been studying physics since I was in high school, and have pursued that research all the way to a Master's degree. Yet after all this time, I've found people to be the most interesting thing in this universe. When faced with the choice of practicing as a theoretical or experimental physicist, I chose instead to become an educator. As a lab instructor in California State University Long Beach physics department, I was curious if I could improve the way we teach our lab on kinematic graphs. This idea evolved into my thesis. It turns out that designing and measuring the effectiveness of curriculum changes can be just as challenging and rewarding as any physics project Iâ€™ve ever worked on, and the difficulties I ran into while writing the thesis have simply reaffirmed my passion: I want to figure out how people learn, and I want to deliver to students what they need to succeed.
Nathan Walsh, University of Arkansas
I began college on the engineering track because at the time I viewed becoming an engineer as being successful. I ended up enjoying my introductory physics classes so much that I switched majors that same year. Since my parents home-schooled and I am the oldest son, I had ample opportunities to teach from a very young age, but it wasn't until college that I really found purpose in it. As a member of the Society of Physics Students at my undergraduate university, I was a part of the formation of a tutoring group for students in the freshman and sophomore level physics classes. Many of the students who attended tutoring thought they were doing poorly in their physics class because "they weren't smart enough to understand physics." We had the opportunity to show these students that, although difficult at times, physics was not impossible, and in fact it could be fun. When a student has that "Ah ha" moment, it can be one of the most fulfilling experiences for me. This is the biggest reason I've committed myself to a life of teaching.