As much as I seek self-development on a daily basis through teaching, I expect my students to better themselves each day as well. Although I hope to ignite a sense of wonder in chemistry, it is the passion within the virtue of grit that I wish to instill most in my high schoolers.”

Valentina’s Story

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Westminster College, Valentina worked as a scientist in the BioOrganics Department at Sigma-Aldrich Corporation for three years. Seeking to strengthen her content knowledge, she enrolled in a chemistry doctoral program at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), where she successfully defended her dissertation in May 2013. While working as an organic chemistry teaching assistant and instructor at WUSTL, she was introduced to the teaching profession. Her volunteer work with underprivileged youth through Restore Saint Louis led her further down the path of becoming a teacher. A summer teaching experience with Teach for America cemented her decision.

During an especially difficult AP chemistry lesson on redox reaction, Valentina was amazed to see her students actively engaged for three full hours. She was especially thrilled to see them supporting one another. This moment, along with many others, have served as encouragement for her, as she realizes that full engagement and support are not always a reality in a large classroom.

Valentina is passionate about traditional forms of art from various cultures. She enjoys salsa, ballroom and traditional dance from her native country, Moldova. Valentina has danced the oldest dance ever—Bharatnatyam—and has been learning kung fu from a Shaolin master.