Graduate Teaching Fellows in Middle and High School Education
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
One of our masterís students in chemical engineering has decided to pursue a career in the professoriate. GK-12 has taught him what it is like to be a faculty member balancing courses, teaching, and research. He defended his thesis in March and will earn his masterís degree in 2 years while participating in GK-12. The graduate fellow believes that he will be a more effective researcher in the future due to his experiences in learning effective work habits. Fellows are able to integrate their STEM knowledge and cutting-edge research experience into the high school classroom since many of the same concepts are discussed but in less depth. They relate hydrogen fuel cells to concepts being covered in 9th grade physical science. Bringing this high-tech world into the high school encourages students to become more engaged and motivated while providing high school teachers with valuable experiences for future use. One fellow commented, ďThe largest impact on my career path and education by GK-12 has been the enhancement of my communication skills. Learning to explain complicated concepts to students who have limited or no exposure to the material is very difficult when coming from a graduate student setting in engineering. We not only communicate with professors and other graduate students; we have to also communicate with our teachers at the schools and the students. This has lead to more ways to explain information to diverse groups and has given the ability to shift when necessary.