Darby Feldwinn has joined the UC Santa Barbara Cal Teach program with a joint appointment with the Gevirtz School and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She received her Ph.D. from UC San Diego, where she worked in Dr. Andrew Kummel’s laboratory researching oxides/III-V semiconductor interfaces. During her graduate career she first took an interest in teaching and won a teaching assistant excellence award. After graduating she had the opportunity to continue doing research and teaching at UCSD and SBCC.
Feldwinn has always been interested in getting students of all ages excited about science. Allowing younger students to have positive science experiences encourages them to consider science as a viable career path. This interest led her to help with the chemistry outreach program at UCSB. This program allows fifth grade student to come to UCSB and participate in hands-on activities with the assistance of UCSB undergraduate and graduate students. Not only does the program provide a positive science learning experience for the fifth grade students, but it also exposes them to the diverse student community at UCSB, thus allowing the fifth graders to see that a college education is within reach. The outreach program benefits both the primary students and the UCSB students, as the sessions allow the UCSB students to discover their love of teaching. Although formally trained in chemistry, Feldwinn’s interest in education and her desire to encourage students to consider careers as secondary math or science teachers led her to the Cal Teach program.
The Cal Teach program at Santa Barbara has three objectives: 1) to use the rapidly expanding undergraduate program at the Gevirtz School – which includes a new Minor in Science and Mathematics Education – to recruit students, particularly underrepresented ethnic minority students, into science and mathematics teaching; 2) to increase the overall number of science and mathematics credential candidates in UCSB’s Teacher Education Program; and 3) to build cohorts of students through shared activities so as to prepare and retain student-centered, reform-minded science and mathematics teachers.
In addition to helping with teach the core Cal Teach classes, Feldwinn is working on developing Chem 102, the chemistry disciplinary practicum course for the Minor in Science and Mathematics Education. This course allows students to be placed in a high school chemistry classroom or a junior high physical science classroom along with helping out with the chemistry outreach program. In addition to their placements, students will discuss chemistry curriculum and ways of making chemistry more accessible to secondary students.
[Darby Feldwinn is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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