Contrary to popular belief, doing science is not only for scientists; it’s a different and wonderful way of looking at the natural world, and ought to be accessible to anyone capable of asking questions of ‘how’ and ‘why.’ As a teacher, it is my goal and challenge to uncover that capability within each student.”

Kayla’s Story

The curiosity of a scientist and the careful work of a teacher have been part of Kayla for as long as she can remember. As the daughter of a music teacher, Kayla grew up appreciating the dedication of great teachers firsthand; through father-daughter stargazing, hiking, and mountain biking adventures, she also grew up with an appreciation for nature and learning. Even so, it was not until late in high school that a few influential teachers kindled Kayla’s passion for physics and helped her realize the personal fulfillment she found in teaching.

Kayla earned a Bachelor of Science in physics and education from Valparaiso University. She spent her time as an undergraduate synthesizing her dedication to physics and to education, through various outreach events, tutoring and research. During her senior year, she was privileged to participate in the development of the Frames of Reference Experience (FORE!) outreach program, which aims to bring Newton’s laws of motion to local youth. One of Kayla’s favorite and most challenging culminating experiences was making proton spin physics, the topic she explored during the summer she spent as a nuclear physics research assistant, accessible (and even fun!) for the eighth graders at her former middle school.

As a curious student, then a physics outreach volunteer and tutor, and finally a student teacher, moments of student discovery have been the highlight of Kayla’s work. She hopes to teach in a place where she is able to learn, encourage, and support her students as individuals, helping them to not only discover the beauty in science, but also to discover in themselves the ability to “think like a scientist.” Aside from her love of teaching and physics, Kayla continues to enjoy time spent outdoors and with her nose in a good book.