How do you continue to grow and be a lifelong learner?

I consistently apply for professional development opportunities for more real-world experiences to bring back to my students. It is one thing to teach about space, but it is another to say, “well, I have met an astronaut, and let me tell you what he said.” It is so exciting to have firsthand knowledge of the latest developments in an ever-changing field like science. I also read, watch science documentaries and seek out “sciency” travel locations for fun.


Who is your mentor, and how did he/she shape your career?

I have had many people believe in me, support me and encourage me over the years. One woman, in particular, set me on the path I am on today. Michelle Lillo, a former colleague, science teacher extraordinaire, taught me all I know. She encouraged me to apply for meaningful STEM professional development and learning opportunities. Without Michelle, I would have never flown with NASA, which led to the amazing opportunities I had as an Einstein Fellow and Fulbright sponsored programs around the world. She was always there for advice along the way, and I still seek out her wisdom to this day.


What words of wisdom do you live by?

“Every day is a good day; some days are just better than others.” I try to always wake up with a fresh outlook on the day and seek out the positives rather than dwell on the little things we have no control over. Every student deserves the best learning experience possible. This mindset helps create a classroom culture that sets the students up for success. I always remind them not to get discouraged if they’re struggling, that “fail” actually stands for “First Attempts in Initial Learning.”