I began teaching in 2006, focused on students with disabilities (K-2ndgrade) and then full day inclusive kindergarten. My life in education started long before that time; a passion sparked by family and friends with disabilities and a desire to understand others. After eight years of teaching, I decided it was time to further my own learning so that I could help others strengthen their own education. I took a leap of faith in 2014 and left my comfort zone of teaching elementary school to pursue my PhD in special education at the University of Central Florida (UCF). While at UCF, I focused on working with students with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities (e.g., Down syndrome). The university provided me with opportunities to explore innovative ideas, technologies, and research. Upon graduation in 2017, my main focus was equality and equity of students with intellectual disabilities learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts in elementary school.
And then the option of working at PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital was placed in front of me- an opportunity to provide education to medically fragile students using STEM education, working alongside talented UCF Faculty, post doctoral scholars, and pre-service teachers. My research and teaching foci remain the same as at my graduation, with just one small change: I now add medically fragile students to those I have a passion to teach and support. I embrace the opportunity to work with all students regardless of abilities or disabilities, race, cultural background, or environment. Students are the future and PedsAcademy at Nemours Children’s Hospital provides me the opportunity to put my passion for teaching and research in action to teach the future.