Raised in the cypress swamps of south Louisiana, my love for the outdoors stems from summers spent kayaking the bayous and camping on sandbars and abandoned tugboats. A lifelong learner, I’m always working on a new skill or chasing a new interest. For now, it’s triathlons, quadcopters and fixed-wing drones, baking, and 3D printing. In the past, I dabbled in photography, rock climbing, soccer, and percussion. Sometime back in 2012, I bought a pair of binoculars and became a bird nerd. That interest has stuck around.
My primary professional role today is as a K-2 STEM instructor at an independent boys school in San Francisco, CA. In 2018, I completed a residency-based graduate school in the Bay Area, growing into a constructivist, student-centered, research-based “cognitive coach.” My first love is science and technology, followed closely by writing. Over the past two years, integrating literacy development into my lessons has been a rewarding challenge: individualizing learning to meet students’ needs, showcasing reading as a key skill for STEM professionals, and giving endless opportunities for students to construct language.
On the weekends, I teach kayaking for REI. Integrating best practices from classroom teaching and cognitive science into outdoor recreation helps me introduce people to paddling in a way that meets their learning needs, makes them feel safe enough to take risks, and develops their skills for a new adventure. At the moment, I’m certified as an ACA Coastal Kayaking Level 3 Instructor.
My journey to teaching today listed as a series of roles would look as follows: youth climate change organizer -> field biologist -> environmental educator -> classroom STEM teacher. Along the way, I had the privilege to work with great people in beautiful places: outdoor education at Acadia National Park and Penn State’s Environmental Education Center; youth leadership development for the Sierra Student Coalition and Real Food Challenge; and field biology for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ventana Wildlife Society. Also, early in the journey, I founded a youth-led non-profit, the Youth Alliance of Louisiana Leaders (YALL), a state network of college and high school environmental groups, to mobilize for climate action and coastal resiliency.
What’s next for me? Currently, I’m greatly enjoying STEM and ed. tech. education. It’s arguably the most fun you can have at work, and a school environment has infinite opportunities to learn new things. Although, being a classroom teacher is not my life-long goal. Innovation often happens when technologies from one field cross into another; I think I have a set of skills that could be helpful in different contexts. We shall see!