I was able to confirm my love of teaching as a student teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the students and watching them learn and grow as individuals.”
Kristen found her love of chemistry in the suburbs of Detroit at Troy High School. “I had two wonderful teachers who really made the subject come alive.” While completing undergraduate work at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., she spent time in the lab studying the electronic transfer rate in DNA. She also took a semester sabbatical to participate in research at Mote Marine Laboratories in Sarasota, Fla.
While at Oakland, Kristen also worked as a tutor, lab report grader and teacher’s assistant. “These were the jobs I looked forward to doing. It was fun and rewarding to work with the students.” After graduating with a BS in chemistry and a BA in biology, Kristen worked as a synthetic organic chemist in Ann Arbor, Mich. She quickly realized that the commercial lab wasn’t for her. “I wanted to do something more fulfilling. My true passion was in teaching – this was where I could make the greatest difference.” Kristen went on to earn her master’s degree in education with secondary certification from the University of Michigan.
In 2009, Kristen traveled to Alaska to participate in PolarTrec training in support of Project IceCube, the world’s largest telescope built to detect neutrino particles and the biggest research project ever attempted in Antarctica. The training provided Kristen and three other KSTF Fellows an opportunity to network with teachers and scientists involved in polar research and become part of the community of people bringing this research to high school science classrooms.