Meet our Graduate Students

Ph.D. Candidates

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.

Beau Hartweg (2014)

My father instilled in me a curiosity and love for science at an early age by teaching me to pursue “live long learning in an ever expanding Universe of endless possibilities.” That philosophy has been the driving force in my personal, professional, and academic career. I began my career in education by teaching high school science as an inclusion teacher for 5 years before deciding to pursue and earn a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction- Science Education from UT Arlington. During my Master’s program, I developed a passion for informal science education, and began working at a local science museum where I provided curriculum support and professional development for teachers.  I am currently working towards a Ph.D. in Science Education to develop my skills as an educational researcher. My research interests include informal science institutions and professional development for in-service teachers.

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

Ummuhan Malkoc (2013)

Going to a chemistry specialized high school was the starting point of my interest in science. I’ve known that the collaboration of science and technology play important role in education. I was interested in the these fields separately then figured out that the combination of them just fulfills my wonder perfectly. Thus, I studied my Bachelor’s degree at Bogazici University, Turkey and my master’s degree at UT Dallas, Texas in science education. My passion in the field and the opportunities at TCU allow me to pursue on my academic goals qualitatively. My research interests consist primarily of learners’ understanding of technological instructional tools and teacher development in instructional strategies. My dream is to be a researcher who has a broad and deep knowledge in science education and apply it to practical educational systems.

Erin Marie Pearce (2013)

Spending the vast majority of my time growing up in my family’s veterinary clinic, I have always had a curiosity and love for science. Upon enrolling in Texas A&M, I majored in Biomedical Science knowing it would lead me to the ideal career. Along the way, my mother suggested I explore teaching. I took her advice and never looked back. Teaching excited and challenged me in ways I never thought possible. Throughout my twelve years in the classroom, I have taught a wide variety of secondary science courses from 7th grade Life Science to senior Anatomy & Physiology. I received a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and then mentored many student teachers/struggling teachers. I really enjoyed teaching others “the ropes” of the teaching profession and found myself jumping at every opportunity to mentor a student teacher. I decided that one of my purposes in life is to educate others about effective teaching. After exploring many doctoral programs, I was most impressed with the large science and pedagogical components of the program offered at TCU. I was very excited to receive an acceptance and began my doctoral work in the fall of 2013. I am very blessed to be a part of this challenging program that continues to intensify my love of science and education.

Morgan Stewart (2013)

From a very young age, I have been taught to enjoy, appreciate, and absorb all I can about the world and the environment around me. After a couple Environmental science classes at Southwestern University where I received my Bachelors of Art, I decided to pursue a Masters in an education field focusing on science which I completed in 2012.  After only a year of no night classes after the completion of my Masters from TCU, I found myself applying for the Ph.D. program at TCU.  So far this has been an incredible learning experience and opportunity where I have stretched and grown as a professional teacher, as a TCU graduate student, and as a future researcher. Working as a full time educator for a local school district while attending TCU in the evenings has been very challenging at times but I firmly believe I am better for the experience.  I eagerly wait for the day I have completed my Doctoral degree to see what new doors open and where my teaching career heads.

Melissa Patterson (2012)

I attended Texas State University- San Marcos and knew from the first day I wanted a degree in biology because the world is a fascinating place and I wanted to know more about it. During my time at Texas State I fell in love with plants and took all of the plant course I could. I particularly enjoyed field courses because I love being outside with plants in their habitat. After completing my BS in biology I attended California State University- Chico and completed my M.S. in Botany. While in Northern California I began teaching as a graduate teaching assistant and later as a community college professor. In addition to teaching college students, I also worked with elementary students as an outdoor science educator though a non-profit organization. After teaching people off all ages about plants and biology for five years I wanted to know more about teaching and learning research, which lead me to Texas Christian University to pursue a PhD in Science Education. I am grateful for the science education program at TCU because the faculty support your interest and let you pursue your passion in education.

 

Master’s Candidates

Emily Stewart (2015)

I have always had a great respect and admiration for education. Growing up I fully devoted my time and effort to my academic career through my tenacity for learning. I am originally from Louisville, Kentucky and graduated in May of 2015 with my Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Alabama. I have always enjoyed the life sciences and started my career path in physical therapy school. I soon realized physical therapy wasn’t for me and teaching would better to suit me to fulfill my passion for helping others. Through my experience as an M. Ed. Candidate at TCU, I hope to pass these traits of dedication to higher education to my prospective students.

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 Lamor (2015)

 YiChing (Julie) Lai (2015)

I come from Taiwan and graduated from National Taiwan Normal University with my Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. I have been a high school Chemistry teacher since 2008. After teaching for several years at public schools in Taiwan, I seem to become focusing on teaching students to test rather than teaching them to learn. I see less and less students devoting themselves into the field of science. Then I’m wondering if I’m still qualified to be a science educator. Isn’t a science teacher supposed to inspire these teenagers to explore the nature and to experience the beauty of the science? What happened to our educational system? With the thoughts, I decided to take two years off and come to TCU to further develop my profession in science education, so that I can share better understanding and meaningful learning in science with my students and colleagues.

Erika Zimmermann (2015)

I graduated from TCU in 2013 with my Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry with minors in Education Studies and Math. During my time at TCU I worked and volunteered countless hours within the education world; whether it be teaching in an after school program, being a teaching assistant in the freshman chemistry labs, doing lab prep for HS Chemistry Professional Development or observing at local middle schools. It was these extra curricular activities that drove me to become a science teacher. After graduation, I spent two years teaching at a local middle school, teaching science to 7th graders one year and 8th graders the next. While I was at school, I began to miss being a student and knew there was something lacking in my life. When I decided I wanted to attend graduate school, it was the best decision I made. I have enjoyed learning more of the behind the scenes and the many layers in education. Additionally, it re-sparked my interest in becoming the best educator that I can.

Jacqueline Navarrette (2014)

Ana Castaneda (2013)

I enjoyed mathematics for a long time because it provided challenges. I also love learning, challenges, seeing growth and helping others. I thought teaching was the best fit for my passions. I graduated TCU with Bachelors in Mathematics. I am currently teaching geometry and algebra in Fort Worth. I received so many blessings during my first year teaching. It was very challenging but also something I am proud of. It made me aware of areas of improvement. I love teaching and learning which led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Mathematics Education. I want to improve my teaching in order to provide the best for my students. I also want to do research so that I may help other teachers. I’m very blessed to be studying at TCU. The professors at TCU and my experiences have been a blessing.