UHCLTeach alum says program inspired her to begin career in education
The U.S. Department of Education reports that about 80% of college students change their major at least once. That’s why University of Houston-Clear Lake students can consider joining UHCLTeach even if they’re not necessarily planning to be a teacher. The program, which allows science and math majors to pursue a teaching certification along with their STEM degree, opens the door to many more opportunities.
Gloria Pulido, former vice president of the UHCLTeach’s student organization, Future Educators in STEM, graduated in December with her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Sciences with a 7-12 Certification. She is the first student involved in the UHCLTeach program to graduate and begin a career in education.
“The organization’s focus is professional development opportunities,” Pulido said. “You find support, not just from your peers, but from other resources and from networking and finding opportunities to aid or substitute teach.”
Pulido, who was hired after graduating by Galena Park Independent School District to teach geometry at North Shore Senior High School - 10th Grade Center, said she believed her experience with UHCLTeach helped her become a more attractive candidate.
“My experience made me a better critical thinker, and I learned more about project-based instruction and how to create a more interactive student setting,” she said.
She added that the UHCLTeach program supports teachers all the way through to graduation with scholarship opportunities and financial support. But most importantly, she said her professors in the Colleges of Education and Science and Engineering gave her the motivation to succeed.
“The faculty are so knowledgeable, and they have shown me, especially through UHCLTeach, that I have the potential to be where they are someday,” she said. “They are always willing to support students and help them find resources. This is what I’ve taken away from my time at UHCL and being involved with UHCLTeach-- staying motivated and pursuing opportunities.”
She said her caring professors, including UHCLTeach Master Teacher, Lecturer in Secondary Science and Math Takisha Bolden-Gastile, showed her what she’d like to do someday.
“Dr. Bolden-Gastile took me as a research assistant and I presented research at the UTeach conference in Austin,” she said. “I’m now coming back to UHCL to pursue my master’s degree in math education, and I’d like to go for my doctorate and become a professor as well. I believe my new position as a math teacher will start me in that direction.”
Whether students graduate and go into education or industry, UHCLTeach helps students identify others’ learning styles and become a more effective communicator. Graduates from the program can become more attractive medical school applicants, and even for those who don’t intend to teach, learning to communicate science and math concepts to others is a coveted skill throughout industry.
For more information about UHCLTeach, go online.