Notes from UTeach Nation

Notes from UTeach Nation: Amber Rodriguez Squashes the Competition

Amber Rodriguez had never grown a pumpkin before, but that didn’t stop the Environmental Systems teacher at Homer Hanna Early College High School in Brownsville, Texas, from trying when Brownsville ISD hosted its first-ever Great Pumpkin growing contest. As part of their quest for botanical success, students learned how to till soil, plant seeds, mix compost, transplant seedlings, water just enough, and build enclosures. They hand-pollinated the flowers and engaged in pest management, as well as battling powdery mildew and the blistering Texas sun.

Notes from UTeach Nation: Knowles Fellows

Learning to be a great secondary STEM teacher doesn’t stop once you graduate from your UTeach program. Among the opportunities for deep, meaningful professional development and social change through education is the Knowles Fellowship. The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation seeks to improve STEM education through increasing, developing, and supporting secondary STEM teachers. The Foundation offers a prestigious and competitive Teaching Fellowship program, awarded to 35 high school teachers annually.

Notes from UTeach Nation: William Chan Takes UTeach to China

When William Chan, AP environmental science teacher at Clements High School in Sugarland, Texas, moved to the United States from Hong Kong as a teenager, he’d grown accustomed to one pedagogical approach in the classroom: lecture. It wasn’t until he joined the UTeach program at UT Austin that he was able to reframe education to view it from a student-centered perspective.

Notes from UTeach Nation: William Kiker

When William Kiker (BA Math 2007, MA Math 2012) was in first grade, he told his teacher that he, too, wanted to be a teacher when he grew up. Her response was to give him extra copies of every worksheet she handed out, which Kiker would then assign to his parents. “I was so excited about it that I’d grade my parents’ subtraction, which was correct, but if it wasn’t lined up correctly I’d subtract points,” he recalls.

Notes from UTeach Nation: Brianna Rapini of the Amoeba Sisters

When people think of UTeach graduates, they probably have an image of an enthusiastic and engaged teacher in a high school classroom, inspiring youth to pursue their passion for chemistry or calculus. They might not envision someone starting a YouTube channel featuring animated explanations of life science that are funny in addition to being informative and cute, but that’s exactly where Brianna Rapini (BS Biology, 2005) has taken the skills she acquired in the UTeach program.