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, i.e. trying not to suck at something. 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.
My primary professional role today is as a K-2 STEM instructor at an independent boys school. 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, and develops their skills for a new adventure–plus, it’s just more fun done well. At the moment, I’m certified as an ACA Coastal Kayaking Level 3 Instructor.
My journey to teaching looks something like youth climate change organizer to field biologist to environmental educator to 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. Somewhere along the way, I had a blast founding 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? I won’t be a classroom STEM teacher forever–it’s not my lifelong mission. Although, it is where my growth edges lay, and it’s arguably the most fun you can have at work. 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!