Meet our Graduate Students

Ph.D. Candidates

Megan Clawson (2018)

Toni Domino (2018)

Alex Tolar (2018)

Callie Price (2017)

Callie Price earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biology from Tarleton State University and is now a full-time instructor and lab coordinator for their Biology department. She came to TCU to further develop her passion for education into defined research skills and become a more effective researcher and educator for students.

Cassandra Cartmill (2017)

Cassandra Cartmill received her Master in Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth.  Prior to attending UNTHSC, she taught Advanced Placement (AP) biology, Pre-AP biology, and chemistry in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD for ten years. For the past six years, she has been a consultant for the Colorado Education Initiative, where she facilitated Pre-AP biology teachers to increase the inquiry and rigor in their classrooms.  Cassandra has also assisted Dallas ISD biology teachers by introducing them to innovative and interactive lessons for all levels of students through the UT Southwestern Science Teacher Access to Resources (STARS) program. She has also presented at the annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST).  Her research interests include professional development and pedagogical practices in the university.

Shelly Wu (2016)

As a biologist, I have always been interested in the macro, real-world applications of microscopic algae. For my undergrad research at Loyola University New Orleans, I studied algae growth on human hair as a forensic application. For my master’s research at the University of Oklahoma, I assessed diatoms on freshwater turtles. During my time at OU, I originally had no intentions to change my career path from biology to education. However, through my involvement in science outreach programs, I became interested in bringing ecology activities to K-12 students. I also enjoyed teaching introductory level biology labs. Whether I was teaching in a lab classroom or outdoors, one common theme I found myself striving for was inquiry-based learning. I believe this mode of learning is a powerful tool that inspires students to realize their full potential as growing scientists. One of my goals at TCU is to research how students understand ecology concepts, with the hope that my findings can be used to develop ecology activities and/or curriculum. Ultimately, my lifelong goal as an educator is to foster appreciation and stewardship for the environment.

Stacy Vasquez (2016)

While completing my Master of Science in Biology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, I was fortunate enough to hold a research position in a microbiology based laboratory. My research involved the biochemical & molecular identification of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. In addition to carrying out research, I was also responsible for teaching introductory biology and microbiology labs to students, which quickly became my favorite part of the program. My interest in microbiology, education, and population health led me to pursue a foundation in public health at the UNT-Health Science Center in Fort Worth. While completing the core competency courses, I began working as an adjunct instructor of biology at Mountain View College and Tarrant County College. In the future I hope to use my experiences and knowledge to get involved in education policy, develop meaningful reforms, and publish research. My passion for education, strong interest in the pedagogical aspects of science, and dedication to improving science instruction really attracted me to the Andrews Institute of Mathematics & Science Education. I consider myself extremely lucky to be working under such an experienced faculty and look forward to getting involved.

Allison Silveus (2016)

Allison graduated from UNT Health Science Center in the Biomedical Science Program in 2007. Her master’s thesis dealt with studying the efficiency of the Combined DNA Index System at the Oregon State Police. Shortly after graduating she began work at UT Southwestern Medical Center where she was published in the journal Immunogenetics in 2009 for Sequence based typing for MICA, an MHC Class I homologue. She began teaching at Tarrant County College in 2009 and was hired full time in 2010. She taught microbiology, non-majors biology, anatomy and physiology, and was the course coordinator for majors biology. While at TCC she was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2013 and 2014 for her work on aligning curricula with the ACGM. She has a passion for developing better kinesthetic models for learning and presented at the Biology Leadership Conference on kinesthetic learning in 2014 and 2015. Shortly after that she was asked by Pearson Publishing to develop a Ready-to-Go teaching module for two textbooks on transcription and translation so that teachers across the country can better incorporate tactile learning. Her dream is to develop more hands on learning programs for college students in STEM fields.

Monica Amyett (2016)      

My love for science began in my early childhood. My grandmother raised quarter horses and I spent my summers on her North Texas farm, learning the processes of raising and training these beautiful animals. In working with horses, I gained leadership skills and an applied understanding of biomechanics and athletic performance. As I grew, I gained an appreciation for logic and reasoning. The sciences appealed to my idealized process for the acquisition of knowledge. I decided to study biology because, to me, all biological processes and the results thereof were a remarkable feat of nature. Simply put, biology inspired me. Teaching was an easy fit for me. As I worked in education, I found that I easily transitioned from one content area to the next. I successfully taught biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics and engineering. I also teach a research and design class wherein I have successfully mentored many students in science fair competition. After years of teaching science, I finally came to terms with my personal ambition to undertake a research project of my own. My research project will be a culmination of my teaching in physics, engineering and biology. I hope to spend my doctoral research efforts in developing a problem-based learning model whereby students can gain an appreciation and understanding of biomechanics and the physics and engineering principles that enable animal and human motion.          

Daniella Biffi (2015)

I am a marine conservation biologist from Peru. In 2014, I completed a M.Sc. at TCU, where I used non-invasive genotyping to estimate local population sizes of marine otters in Peru. Developing research and conducting field work in Peru gave me the opportunity to interact with fishing communities, non-profits, government agencies and low-income public schools. These experiences have broadened my research and professional interests to four areas: ecology and conservation of marine otters, marine education, environmental and conservation communication, and sustainable seafood initiatives. In the future I want to continue working in Peru, developing effective long-term environmental programs for students and the community that promote science thinking on a daily basis.

John Cordell (2014)

I graduated from Texas A&M University in with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. After which I moved to New York and earned my Master’s Degree in Physics from Hunter College of the City University of New York. I taught physics, earth science, and mathematics at Talent Unlimited, a high school in the New York City public school system, for 4 years. I have taught physics, honors physics, AP Physics C – Mechanics and E&M, psychology, and AP Psychology for the past 12 years at Fort Worth Country Day School. I really love trying to take difficult concepts and make them easier for students to understand. I love surprising students in class with a demonstration or a thought that induces them to reconsider the world. I love it when the students surprise me with a demonstration or thought that induces me to reconsider the world, which happens quite often. I am currently enrolled in the Science Education Ph.D. program. With the degree, I would like to be part of the national conversation about what we teach in science and how we teach it.

Yohanis de la Fuente (2014)

A passion for learning has always been at the core of my motivation in life.  Since a very early age, I wanted to learn about the natural world through science.  This passion brought me to a Masters in Methodology of Teaching Physics, Astrology and Electronics in my native Cuba.  During this time in school, I developed a deep interest in research and teaching science.  It was with expectation for improvement that I came to this great country and restarted my road to validating all I had studied before.  This path have brought the challenges of learning a new language, earning a Bachelor’s of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University, and a Masters from Salamanca University in Spain.  I am honored to be working on my Ph.D. in Science Education, be part of the College of Education and the Andrews Institute at TCU.  The opportunities and challenges that this Doctoral program has taken me through have continue to increase my love for science, research and passion for learning.  I am looking forward to a future where I could share with other education professionals my passion for learning and teaching science to young learners.

Ron Ivy (2013)

My career in science education began with a desire to understand and explain the world around me. Choosing to study science at UTA gave me the opportunity to work as a TA in the Zoology lab, present research findings at symposiums and earn my Bachelor of Science degree. Shortly after graduation I became a lab assistant in biological research at UNT Health Science Center. While teaching art in a summer program, I developed an interest in teaching. In the fall of 2000 I entered the classroom with a desire to build a love and understanding of the nature of science in my students. While teaching middle school science, I was able to work with a team to help my school to become one of the first NASA Explorer schools in the state. I was a pioneer when it came to integrating technology in the classroom and spent time presenting regionally and nationally to teachers and administrators. My journey then carried me into educational administration where I have had the opportunity of working with teachers and specialist to enhance curriculum and instruction in both science and math. My experiences have included curriculum writing, textbook selection, numerous presentations, and a completion of my masters in science education and administration. Now I am on a new path as I begin doctoral studies in Science Education here at TCU

Master’s Candidates

Michael Lecak (2017)

Jennifer Tuff (2016)

Science was always my favorite subject. It was always something that came easy to me. I love learning about living things especially. In college I took as many life science classes as allowed for my undergrad degree. One thing I was sad about when I graduated was that I thought my study in biology was over. In high school and even in college, if anyone had told me I was going to eventually be a biology teacher I probably would have laughed them out of the room. Yet, here I am doing just that and loving every moment of my job. To me biology is the study of life and learning not only about the world around but also about ourselves. I love to watch as my students draw connections between some tiny cellular process and their diet choices or the effect they have on an ecosystem by stepping off a well worn path. To me teaching science has allowed me to study the wonders of the world and get paid to do it! I am excited to see the opportunities that will be available upon completion of my Masters of Education from TCU and to learn how I can contribute to the improvement of science education by improving my knowledge base! I am so excited in this next chapter of my science education.

Brook Salazar (2016)

My passion for science began in my first high school Biology class and there was no looking back. I believe that having a “growth mindset” is a fundamental component for academic and social success in my classroom. I also feel that building a nurturing student-teacher relationship is essential for student involvement.  I obtained my Bachelor’s degree at Texas Wesleyan University in Life Science. I then went on to acquire my alternative teaching certificate through Tarleton University (TMATE). I am about to begin a new journey at TCU. I just got accepted into the TCU Graduate program, which will be geared toward Curriculum and Instruction. My goals, in the foreseeable future, will hopefully be in partaking in some form or fashion of administration position within a high school setting or actually writing a more engaging Biology curriculum for a school district. Essentially, I want to make teaching fun again for every student and teacher!

Wendy Lamour (2015)

Jacqueline Navarrette (2014)