Clayton State alumna Rebecca Dyes recently became a Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) fellow.
A biology major and chemistry minor at Clayton State, she is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching for secondary sciences at Georgia State University.
The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation was established by Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles to cultivate and support exemplary science and mathematics high school teachers and develop the next generation of leaders in education.
Dyes' is grateful for her one-on-one attention she received from professors at Clayton State University.
“I had a wonderful experience as an undergraduate student at Clayton State University,” Dyes says. “The one-on-one attention that I received from my professors is a resource that I know would not have been available at many other schools. I was able to obtain a strong foundation of scientific concepts, as well as hands on laboratory experience. I was also able to build lasting friendships with many of my classmates and professors.”
“Rebecca took Microbiology with me when she attended Clayton State University,” says Dr. Michelle Furlong, associate professor of Biology and Department Chair of Natural Sciences. “After acing my course she requested that I mentor her undergraduate research project. Her project involved describing a microbial community that colonized gypsum samples that were collected from the Chihuahuan desert. Our goal was to determine if the microbial community had the ability to sequester and store water during dry periods since the gypsum samples appeared to be etched by water.
“Rebecca's vast knowledge in microbiology, her research experience, and her desire to learn more led her to a job with the Georgia Department of Agriculture food microbiology lab, where she worked for a few years before discovering her passion for teaching. I was not in the least bit surprised when Rebecca told me she wanted to pursue a teaching career in science. Her passion for learning along with her talent for teaching is remarkable. I can’t describe how excited I am about one of my former students sharing my enthusiasm for teaching and microbiology! I have no doubts that she will inspire many students to pursue a career in science.”
Dyes is looking forward to a career in teaching.
“Some of my most rewarding experiences thus far have come from working with students,” she says. “As a tutor for both math and science, I’ve worked with both middle school and high school students. One of the most rewarding experiences in these interactions has been to see a student’s self-confidence grow as they see their hard work paying off, in the form of better grades.
“I look forward to starting a new career as a high school science teacher and helping to build the self confidence of the students in my classroom. I know this will be a challenging task, but I see these challenges as an opportunity to help improve our schools. The Knowles Science Teaching fellowship will also continue to provide me a supportive community as I make the transition into a teaching career, and I look forward to working with this group of fellow teachers.”