My main goal is for students to perceive scientific knowledge as accessible, relevant, and critical for accomplishing their goals, whatever those may be.”
Lindsay’s love affair with science began while attending Hereford High School in Parkton, Md. “Like many adults who have a good relationship with science, I had two great high school physics teachers, a husband and wife team who always connected science to real life.” Lindsay has fond memories of the support and guidance she received from these teachers as she worked on her first research project—making a hologram.
As a student at Amherst College, Lindsay chose to major in physics. While at Amherst, she often questioned if she truly ‘belonged’ in the scientific community, and came close to changing her major. After researching the reasons behind the persistent gender gap in the field of physics, Lindsay co-founded a study group aimed at fostering a sense of community among female physics students and helping them to value their talents and abilities. Today, she does her best to help all of her students recognize their strengths in science.
Upon graduation, Lindsay volunteered in Mozambique for a year, teaching English and computer skills. “From that experience, I learned how important it is for students to actively participate in their own education. I realized that critical thinking is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced, not just something we’re born with.”
Since then, Lindsay has taught physics, chemistry, geometry, and astronomy in a variety of settings—a private boarding school, a charter school, large and small public schools, and summer camps. After her first two years in the classroom, she enrolled in the Masters and Credential In Science and Math Education (MACSME) Program at the University of California, Berkeley. She joined the 2009 cohort after her first year of graduate school. “The MACSME program emphasized using education research to inform our teaching practices. Knowles closed this loop for me by placing a high value on the knowledge that teachers generate through their experiences in the classroom, and by encouraging us to collaboratively inquire into our practice with others in the larger education community.”
During the first four years of the Fellowship, Lindsay and others in her cohort engaged in a Lesson Study focused on Energy in Circuits. This sparked her interest in new methods for teaching and learning about energy, which led her to participate in the I-RISE Scholar program at Seattle Pacific University (SPU). She and a graduate student at SPU (who was also a Knowles Senior Fellow) subsequently co-authored an article in The Physics Teacher about “Energy Theater,” an activity that kinesthetically engages students in representing the flow of energy in various phenomena.
Through annual Knowles professional development grants, Lindsay has attended workshops on teaching AP physics (through the AP Institute), project-based learning, the patterns approach to physics, and most recently, computer programming. In the spirit of collaborative teacher inquiry, she has also led several short workshops for Fellows at Knowles Teacher Initiative summer meetings, and mentored undergraduates at MIT’s D-Lab in a class on global STEM education.
Currently, Lindsay is working with other Knowles Senior Fellows on the Engineering Task Force to boost science and math teachers’ ability to integrate engineering design projects into their curricula.