Student Profile: Jillian Danninger hopes to have students become advocates for the planet

Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Jillian Danninger

GGSE: What made you want to be a teacher, and why an SST credential?
Jillian Danninger: I discovered my interest in teaching when I interned at a small aquarium. Each day I would do exhibit presentations and be filled with so much joy whenever visitors' faces lit up after they learned something new about an animal or the ocean. I thought that it would be so cool to experience this as a part of my career and hopefully one day teach a high school marine biology class. I am also a big proponent for the environment and through my experiences in outdoor education I have seen how important it is for the future of our planet to educate the next generation about the environment and the impact they have. Each student has their own set of skills, interests, experiences, etc. and I hope to show them how those could be applied in being advocates for our communities and planet. I get so excited knowing that even just a handful of my future students could go on to enact change in any field, reaching more individuals than I can imagine.

GGSE: What made you choose the Teacher Education Program at UCSB to do your graduate school work?
Danninger: What initially drew me to TEP at UCSB was how in one year I could get both my teaching credential and Master's in Education. Also, since I grew up in San Luis Obispo, I thought Santa Barbara was the perfect place for me to go to school and build a career while not being too far away from home. Lastly, as I looked at other programs I was also just very impressed with the organization of TEP at UCSB in terms of their information sessions, program/application guides and checklists, and contact information for any questions I had.

GGSE: Who was your favorite teacher in your life, and why?
Danninger: One of my favorite teachers was my high school honors Biology teacher, Mrs. Macartney. Despite being one of the most difficult classes I took in high school, her class helped me discover an interest for science. Each day I admired how knowledgeable she was and appreciated how she incorporated art into her assignments so my classmates and I could absorb the material in a different way. I now want to expand on this by showing students how science relates to various passions such as politics, business, art, and literature.

GGSE: If you have any free time (we realize how consuming TEP is), how do you like to spend it?
Danninger: In my free time I enjoy spending time by the ocean, I find that just listening to the waves really centers me when I have countless things on my mind. I also enjoy indoor rock climbing, watching Netflix, and spending time with friends from my church and TEP.