In order to better support students as they grow and explore the world around them, teachers need resources that extend beyond textbooks and lab supplies.”

Sophie’s Story

Sophie currently teaches general freshman biology and an English development class. She has previously taught Advanced Placement and honors freshman biology, and is particularly passionate about engaging English learners in rigorous curriculum.

Influenced by her mother’s career as a nurse midwife, Sophie entered college intent on pursuing a career in medicine. It wasn’t until her junior year that she realized that what she really cared about wasn’t bodies directly, but rather, “teaching others about their health.” Sophie sees teaching as an incredibly challenging yet rewarding profession, “one that requires all of who I am every day.”

Sophie’s favorite teaching moments occur when students are actively finding connections between what they are learning and their interest in the world around them. Every year, during lessons on the genetics of cancer, seeing every student’s hand go up when she asks who has been affected by cancer is one of the most powerful moments. “I am proud to think that I might be teaching not only the next generation of cancer biologists and researchers, but perhaps even more importantly, working with informed citizens and consumers.”

A Leonore Annenberg Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow, Sophie strongly believes that teachers are not the educators of our future, but rather the educators of our present: “Youth are capable of so much more than society often gives them credit for; it’s our challenge as teachers to find ways to elevate their voices and actions.”

As a Knowles Fellow, Sophie has benefited from multiple opportunities to collaborate with other teachers and reflect on her own practice. Through two Leadership Grants, she was supported to start a peer observation club on her campus that has grown to include more than 18 teachers from almost all departments. With assistance from Knowles in the form of a Seed Grant, this work has since spiraled out, allowing her colleagues to be trained in collaborative practices that support the development of professional learning communities at her school.

Sophie earned a Bachelor of Arts in human biology, with a minor in Spanish, from Stanford University. She is a graduate of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) and a recipient of the Stanford University Centennial Teaching Award. As a sophomore, she spent a semester in Ecuador interning with a gynecologist at a medical clinic and worked with traditional birth attendants. Sophie started her teaching career at Sequoia High School in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Southern California to teach at Westlake High School.