I feel as though a lot of students do not believe in themselves and their intelligence. This inspires me to encourage students and let them see that with the right tools, they are intelligent and capable of success
Brittany O'Brien 2013 Fellow
With dreams of becoming a veterinarian, Brittany began pre-vet coursework at Michigan State University (MSU). About one and a half years into the program, she realized that she was no longer interested in this career path. Having already completed several science courses, she recognized that she had a passion for chemistry. Desiring to inspire students to make a difference in the world through science, Brittany decided to study education.
After being admitted into the College of Education at MSU, Brittany received the J. Franklin Hyde scholarship for chemistry educators. In addition to receiving the scholarship, she was awarded an internship at Dow Corning, a leading global supplier of performance-enhancing solutions. During her internship, Brittany learned about many real world applications of chemistry, which she could leverage to get students excited about the subject. The experience inspired her to learn more about chemistry research—and how she could use it to improve her teaching practice—which she did by gaining an undergraduate research job that allowed her to study alkali metals.
Brittany aspires to reach all of the students in her classes by creating a safe learning environment. While working as a student teacher, her favorite moments revolve around receiving confirmation that a student truly understands the scientific concept being taught. She loves “learning about the scientific world, and the education world, and how they can coincide to make a successful community.”
Following graduation, she hopes to secure a teaching position in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area. During moments of downtime, she enjoys playing soccer, running, snowboarding, eating and knitting.