San Benito High School
Carissa has fond childhood memories of playing school for hours in front of a white board in her attic. However, it wasn't until she was a student at Gilroy High School that she learned the profound impact a good teacher can have on the student experience. This resonated even further as an undergraduate at California Polytechnic State University, where a professor helped her find a fascinating perspective of the world through chemistry. “I was motivated to teach high school students in order to share my respect and understanding of science, while helping them foster an authentic appreciation for the subject.”
Carissa hopes to make a difference as a teacher in the Bay Area, where she grew up and feels a strong connection to the community. “For all the wealth and technological advancements in the area, there are even more disadvantaged students and schools.” She considers teaching to be one of the hardest things she has done and appreciates the rewards that come with the profession. “Just one moment when a student understands what we are learning is reward enough for all the personal confusion, time and effort I experience in preparation to even stepping inside the classroom.”
Carissa has participated in California State University’s Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program and has worked in a national laboratory conducting research alongside scientists. This experience allows her to communicate the importance of scientific research to students. Carissa looks forward to the support and community network she will receive and be a part of as a KSTF Teaching Fellow.