Current Noyce Scholars
Our Noyce Scholars are proud to participate in Doane University's Project SERVE program. They are passionate about teaching STEM disciplines, and are looking forward to working in high-need schools - making a meaningful difference in the lives of children and their families, and in their communities.
Tori Gress ‘21 grew up in Nebraska City. At Doane, she has excelled as a student in the College of Education. She is excited to start her junior year as a Noyce Scholar, a prestigious honor for future teachers.
Tori is thrilled at the chance to participate in Project SERVE. “I am excited to be given the chance to learn more about relevant issues, conduct research, and meet with mentors to help better prepare myself for different teaching tasks in my future,” she says.
She hopes her experience in Project SERVE will make her a better teacher. “Teaching requires passion and dedication,” she says. “ I believe Project SERVE will help me deepen my passion and dedication to help me better understand how to effectively teach science in the areas where it is most needed.”
Olivia DeFord ‘21 grew up in Lincoln. At Doane she is an honors student majoring in science education, and a member of the dance team. She also works in the writing center, helping fellow students with their assignments.
“I am passionate about teaching STEM in a high-need environment because I want to work with people who are passionate and know that they are capable of making a difference,” she says.
Olivia sees a need in the world to teach students how to find solutions in high-need environments where there may not be that many people trying to help.
“ As a future STEM teacher, I want to support my students and foster their drive to make the world a better place,” she says. “ The education and support I get from Project SERVE will help me become the best teacher I can be for my students.”
Allysa Catt ‘21 grew up in Panama, NE and graduated from Fort Hays State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology - Natural Resources.
After reflecting on what she wanted her future career to look like, she realized that education is the ideal place for her. So, Allysa decided to pursue her teaching certification in science education through Doane’s FastTrack program.
“It is important for me to be in a position where I can empower the next generation, and teaching in STEM is the perfect place. Quality education lifts up individuals, families, and communities and provides opportunities for fulfillment and enrichment.” Allysa is committed to providing excellent STEM education which will impact generations to come.
Naomi Kirkvold ‘21 is from Omaha, NE and graduated in May 2020 from UNL with degrees in biochemistry and chemistry.
Naomi is excited to pursue her teaching career, and to be a Noyce scholar at Doane. “While many of my peers at UNL aimed to become doctors and researchers, my passion is for teaching.” As a Noyce scholar, she will have the opportunity to explore her passion for teaching through the Project SERVE mentor program, Noyce seminars, and building a community with other future teachers. “Most importantly, however, I am excited for teaching STEM in high needs schools. I have had such wonderful STEM teachers in my life, and I cannot wait to become just like them.”
An interesting fact about Naomi is that she has watched the show The Office at least 7 times.
Nolan Field ‘21 grew up in a small town in northwest Iowa. Nolan is a 2016 Doane graduate, and he has been working the past few years in Nebraska as an orthopedic salesman. His desire to pursue a career in teaching was cultivated through that job, “I found that teaching surgeons about my products and their applications was the most fulfilling aspect of my job.”
Nolan also explored his desire to teach kids by volunteering in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. “I found that getting to know and interact with kids though my involvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters was also extremely fulfilling.”
Nolan is looking forward to being a Noyce scholar for a number of reasons, however, “I’m most excited about having a mentor to learn from and to help me address questions that I’ll have when I being my teaching career.”
Teaching STEM in a high needs environment was also a motivating factor for Nolan to join Doane’s Project SERVE program, “because I know I’ll have a tremendous opportunity to impact the students I’m interacting with. I can’t wait to motivate students to have a thirst for knowledge and be able to ask the questions that no one else is asking.”
Jenny Williamson ‘21 grew up on the West Coast, but she relocated to Lincoln a few years ago to try out “the Good Life” of Nebraska. Jenny is enrolled in Doane’s accelerated teaching certificate program, working toward her goal of teaching science at the secondary level. While earning her undergraduate degree at the University of CA (Berkeley) she spent several years in mosquito and virus surveillance, but discovered her true love for STEM education through mushroom hunting/field trips in the Sierra Nevada with her botany professor and classmates.
“The deep investment of one educator can have a profound impact on students’ lives,” she says. “It is my responsibility and desire to be that role-model for students who may otherwise be overlooked.” Jenny hopes to inspire her students to view STEM as both accessible and valuable in their lives.
Jenny looks forward to developing different tools and skills, in order to equip her future students to take ownership in their STEM coursework. “Being a part of Project SERVE is invaluable! The support I will receive will shape me into a more creative educator and help me to better serve those in my community,” she says. “I am grateful to be a part of a team that shares my passion for STEM education.”
Ariel Ortiz ‘22 grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. Ariel is majoring in mathematics with a secondary education endorsement at Doane University, and she is also a community advisor on campus. Additionally, she works in the library as a librarian assistant and a mathematics tutor, helping fellow students with their assignments.
Ariel’s one motto that helps her remember her why came from her high school teacher, “never, ever, ever give up.” Ariel sees a need in the education profession for mathematics teachers that care, listen, and take the time to help each individual student.
Ariel hopes to share her love for mathematics with all of her future students, and make a difference in the world one student at a time. “I hope that Project SERVE gives me the experience and opportunities to help me achieve my goal of being a great educator, learner, and become an even better human being.”
A fun fact about Ariel is that she does calligraphy and other artsy things in her spare time.
Jazzmyn Boucher ’22 grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Kappa Phi Zeta sorority, and the Doane Concert Band while majoring in mathematics with a secondary endorsement. Jazzmyn can also be found tutoring for 3+ mathematics courses on campus, and working at the Mathematics Study Help Desk in the Doane Library.
It has been Jazzmyn’s lifelong dream to be a STEM teacher. Her passion for teaching was confirmed the first time she stepped in front of the classroom. “I saw the passion in my students’ eyes- when I was having fun with the subject matter, so were they.”
Jazzmyn is excited to be a part of Project SERVE, and she wants to learn what it takes to be an effective math teacher in the areas of highest need. “I want to give my future students a good education. I am beginning by understanding my future students’ attitudes and mindset to provide them with the education they deserve.”, she says.
Project SERVE Alumni
Deb Erpelding ‘20 was a nonresidential student in Doane’s accelerated teaching certificate program, called FastTrack. After relocating to Nebraska from elsewhere in the Midwest, Deb used the opportunity to transition careers to education. She began her journey as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher. While completing her teaching certificate program at Doane, Deb Erpelding began teaching science at Fremont High School. She is now off to a great start in her new career, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
“Building relationships with the kids and working closely with those that struggle due to learning disabilities, socio-economic issues, and unstable family situations was very fulfilling,” she says.
“Being part of the Noyce Project SERVE program will help me be a better role model and resource for kids that are interested in STEM careers,” she says. “I also want to help students develop the skills needed to be successful in college and in life.”