2012 Recipients of the Robert Noyce Pathway to Science Scholarships:
My name is Lisianna Emmett, eldest daughter of Terrell and Judy Cummings of Toxey, AL, a rural town in Choctaw County. Since August 2003, I have been married to Tony Emmett, and we have four four-legged children: Missy, Gypsy, Bridgette and Sally. My love of nature stems from my Daddy who moved us to a family farm when I was 10. Watching our sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits and gardens grow always fascinated me. Honestly, he is a little disappointed I'm not a veterinarian, but just slightly.
I believe science should be fun and engaging. I remember taking Integrated Science 6, a program put out by Alabama Public Television when I was in 6th grade. It engaged students with a video lesson where entertaining scientists explained and showed us the concepts we were learning, to keep us focused we had to answer questions while watching it, we had a discussion with our teacher afterwards, and at least once a week had a hands-on “lab” to reinforce our understanding. Sadly, the program went the way of many good ideas; it lost funding. However, this is the basic format I hope to use in my own classroom someday. I am a firm believer that there is more than one way to learn everything and that discovery is more important than memorization.
My name is Matthew Parkin and I am from a small town just north of Birmingham called Dora, Alabama. I have two older sisters, Melissa and Marie. I am a member of Providence Church of God where I sing on the praise team and help teach boys club on Wednesdays. I also sing bass in a quartet called the Providence quartet. I attended Corner High School, where I found a love for science. Not only did I find I love science, but also discovered that I am good at it. I graduated high school in 2007 and enrolled at Jacksonville State University majoring in biology. I transferred to the University of South Alabama in 2009 and graduated with a degree in biology in the spring of 2011.
I have spent the past two years in Mobile working in the food industry and when I heard about the University of South Alabama’s Noyce Pathway to Science scholarship program and I quickly jumped at the opportunity. I was still a little skeptical about teaching high school until I participated in the 10-week internship requirement of the program at Murphy High School teaching freshman biology. Ever since that experience, I have no doubt that I have found what I am supposed to do with my life. I feel like I can make a difference in the lives of many students. I would eventually like to go into administration and become a principal over a secondary school after a few years of teaching.
I have always loved science and math and I found a perfect fit for my talents in Chemical Engineering. I received a B.S. degree from the University of California in 1980. I worked for Chevron Research Company for 12 years and I loved it. After I got married, my husband wanted me to work with him in his real estate business, so I left my job at Chevron and started a new career in property management. At this point in my life, with my children grown, I am ready for a new challenge.
I have two children in college at Ole Miss, and a third is a sophomore in high school. Every time I visited my kids at school I was struck by the energy of the place. I felt invigorated being around these young people and I knew that when I was ready to go back to work it would be in teaching.
I completed the internship for the Noyce Scholarship at Davidson High School in Mobile, AL. This internship totally cemented the notion that teaching is the right choice for me. The internship was a wonderful, exciting, and yes, sometimes nerve racking experience. High school students are the perfect age for me. These are young people who are trying to learn how to be adults and have a lot of important decisions to make at this stage in their lives. I feel like I can assist them in making some of the right choices for many students make some heartbreakingly bad choices. A good teacher can make all the difference in the world to students and I feel that I can be that teacher.