Curiosity in the science lab

The Concord Consortium’s Teacher Ambassador program commemorates our 25th anniversary by recognizing 25 outstanding teachers who have included our digital inquiry resources into their STEM classrooms. We congratulate them on their innovation and creativity.

Felicia Yu, Concord High School, Concord, CA

Felicia Yu would love to take a road trip up the West Coast with stops in Ashland (for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. It’s no surprise that part of her dream vacation also includes “hitting up every major botanical garden along the way,” since she holds a master’s degree in horticulture.

Teacher Ambassador Felicia Yu

It was while in graduate school serving as a teaching assistant that she discovered her career path in education. She realized she could put her science knowledge to use and have a profession that would allow her to live close to her home in the Bay Area. Felicia is now a high school biology and biotechnology teacher with a penchant for bioluminescence night kayaking on Tomales Bay, just north of San Francisco—a perfect “10 out of 10” for adventure.

She found the Concord Consortium’s STEM Resource Finder through online searches for curriculum ideas, and has used several Molecular Workbench models in her class to teach about DNA, protein folding, transcription, and translation. She has also used lessons from the InSPECT project to investigate respiration and photosynthesis. From figuring out how to troubleshoot “finicky sensors” to seeing that leaves respire carbon dioxide, students had many Eureka! moments in her class, and Felicia was pleased to see that “students can still have surprising amounts of curiosity when given flexible tools that generate meaningful data.”

She believes that one of the most exciting things about education today is that students can collaborate easily with technologies like Google Drive. “Coordinating group projects and group research is as easy as a few clicks and then typing away.” She’s particularly happy that these tools also give quieter students more chances to shine during group discussions because they can contribute without the pressure of speaking in front of the class.

More than technology tools and resources, Felicia thinks that the best way to support teachers is to decrease class sizes or to increase the number of instructors per class, “so that students can get a more high-touch, individualized education without burning out the educators, and so that high-quality science lab work can be done with minimal safety issues.” But she knows that’s a big ask!

Favorite ice cream: Any kind of tea flavor: matcha, Earl Grey, etc.