I was so inspired by the fact that I changed one student’s attitude from apathy to being fascinated by biology.”
Kristin Mongelli’s fascination with biology was sparked by a remarkable biology teacher at Roxbury High School in Succasunna, NJ. As an undergraduate at Drew University, Kristin enrolled in as many upper-level biology courses as she could, and was selected as a summer research intern by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. The experience was rewarding, but Kristin was unsure if the daily life of a research scientist fit her personality.
While in college, Kristin took a summer teaching position at the Proyecto Science summer enrichment program in East Hanover, NJ, where she taught biology to incoming eighth graders. It was here that she realized her passion for becoming a high school biology teacher. She devised a lesson in which her students created s’mores to learn about cell organelles. The students’ parents told her they had never seen their children so excited over a biology lesson. At the end of the summer, her students had shown the greatest academic improvement in the program, which further strengthened her ambition to teach high school biology.
Kristin earned a BA in biology with a minor in studio art and public health from Drew University, and graduated summa cum laude. An Edward J. Bloustein Scholar, she received the Hardin Prize and Schering-Plough Scholarship in the Sciences, and also interned at the Eritrean mission for the United Nations.