EnCorps spoke with Roberta Love, a San Francisco Bay Area EnCorps STEM Teaching Fellow who teaches science at Futures Academy. Roberta grew up in an under-resourced area in the South of Italy where few people had the opportunity to even finish high school. She earned a scholarship to study chemistry in Ferrara, in the North of Italy and says,
“Education has changed me and I hope to share my experience with future students.”
As a former chemist and researcher, her specialty was to develop and optimize new materials for solar cells, but she felt unfulfilled working on her PhD so she began to pursue teaching. She uses her background to spark the curiosity of her students by organizing hands-on projects and bringing in real life applications to the math and science.
In making the transition, she has been thankful for the support from her Program Director as well as her peers within the EnCorps Cohort. The shared knowledge and connections she has made at EnCorps Summer and Fall Institutes help her along the pathway to becoming an excellent STEM teacher.
Given her own background, Roberta feels connected to the students in her host teacher’s classroom. She is currently spending time at Cabrillo Middle School in a science classroom, where one student in particular was not engaged in the material. Her host teacher, Cheryl, gave Roberta the opportunity to try to engage this young student. Every week, Roberta asks him to bring in a joke about the material they are learning and then they laugh and compare. In order to find a joke, he needs to know a bit about the science content. Slowly but surely, Roberta is developing a lasting relationship with this student.
Roberta was inspired by her Italian teacher and hopes to inspire her students. She says of her own teacher, “She inspired every student in the class. She always tried to teach us how to pursue our passion.”