Published: May 12, 2017
Dr. French has a new job -- Assistant Professor of STEM Education at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
As a former physics and engineering teacher, I sought research opportunities for my students. Teaching at a rural high school left me with limited access to scientific journals and lab supplies. To provide better research experiences for my students, I sought collaborations with professors across the nation. While these experiences were fantastic, my students and I primarily collected and analyzed data. I wanted to jump into a research project that went from start to finish, with all of the iterations in between. NITARP afforded me that opportunity. As a partial result of NITARP, I left my high school teaching job to pursue a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. My research focused on getting authentic science and STEM experiences into the K12 classroom. In addition to the science education focus, I also took 29 graduate hours in astronomy. I am now an Assistant Professor of STEM Education at Wilkes University where I teach K12 preservice teachers from all disciplines, as well as teach specialized courses in science education. Incorporating authentic experiences throughout all disciplines is a hallmark of my classes. Additionally, I also provide professional development opportunities for inservice teachers on how to use astronomy as a vehicle to teach STEM and how to incorporate authentic scientific inquiry in the K12 classroom. Participating in NITARP really solidified my philosophy of K12 teaching. As many previous NITARP-ers have expressed, this was a life-changing PD.