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I believe the role of a teacher is to impart knowledge, to be an excellent role model, to be an active participant in their students’ academic endeavors, to ever expand their own education and passion for teaching, and to be an active member of their community

Clarissa Toupin
2013 Fellow

Clarissa Toupin

2013 Fellow

Clarissa is passionate about history and human evolution—both behavioral and physical. While studying anthropology at Arizona State University (ASU), she worked as a teaching assistant in undergraduate science and high school special education classes. Possessing strong communication skills and a love for working with teenagers, Clarissa enjoyed working in this capacity.

Her undergraduate studies were enriched through three additional experiences: interning as a forensic anthropologist at the Maricopa Forensic Science Center, working as a bioarchaeologist in Sudan and working as an archeologist in South Africa. Through her time at the Maricopa Forensic Science Center, Clarissa was able to leverage her knowledge of human biology in a meaningful, hands-on way, while contributing to the public good. The latter experiences renewed her passion for teaching, and allowed her to gain an appreciation for very different cultures.

By this point in her career, she was acutely aware of the lack of females working in the discipline, as well as the alarmingly low number of general education students planning to attend college. To begin making an impact on a grassroots level, she designed a series of lectures entitled “College is Cool.” Delivered in a high school where she worked and at another local school, she talked to all students, but specifically targeted girls. Clarissa discussed how college can be accessible, fun, and rewarding. She emphasized the sciences by showcasing interesting photographs from the forensic lab and her travels in Africa.

Clarissa holds a master of arts in biological anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). As a student at UAF, she traveled to London and Iceland for bioarchaeological research. Although she enjoyed conducting research, she decided to become a high school biology teacher instead of pursuing a doctoral degree. Through the teaching profession, she aims to make a difference in the lives of her students, and to impact “the school, the district, the community and the very policies driving science education in our states and in our nation.”

In the fall of 2013, Clarissa will begin the master of education program at ASU. She hopes to teach in an inner-city school or at an advanced college preparatory school after finishing her studies.

Aside from her interest in science and teaching, she enjoys traveling and partaking in unusual adventures, including shark cage diving and exploring the Alaskan Arctic. Most important, she loves spending time with her husband and their infant son.