Brian Foster '21

Be open to opportunities outside your comfort zone. I originally thought that I would never teach in a middle school, but I ended up taking a chance on a middle school science position and absolutely loved it.

I did my practice teaching at New Brunswick High School and had most of my best experiences at Teacher Prep during my time student teaching. It was great to just have conversations with my students and get to know their stories while also peaking their scientific curiosity. I also had a great time with my cohort. Taking that final class together and hearing everyone's experiences during student teaching was great and bonded us. We would get together outside of class and it was nice to relax with my classmates knowing that we were going though it together. Lastly, Dr. Monaghan was the best mentor I ever had. I felt that she really understood me and knew when to push me and when to pull back. I would always look forward to our meetings and check ins not just to update on my teaching, but also just life in general and it was great to have someone in that role for me.

After completing my student teaching, I worked as a substitute teacher in that same classroom (high school chemistry) while I completed my work for the EdTPA. After getting my certificate, I took a leave replacement position at Princeton Day School (middle school science) until the end of the school year. Since then, I have moved to Madison, WI, where I am pursuing a PhD in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. The research I'm doing now is on sustainable strategies to water treatment from various wastewater streams. I get excited knowing my work can have a direct impact on improving people's lives. I am the secretary of UW-Madison's recently reestablished NOBCChE student chapter (National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) and was recently awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) award in its Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), a prestigious and competitive fellowship that helps support outstanding graduate research across the country.

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