Jess comes to Voyagers Community School after completing her Ph.D. in STEM Education from Drexel University in Philadelphia. As a Monmouth County native, Jess is looking forward to returning home to join the VCS family. Jess currently lives in Middletown with her husband and new baby.
Jess attended Providence College as an undergraduate where she earned two bachelor’s degrees in Elementary/Special Education and Psychology. During her time at Providence, Jess also earned two minors in Mathematics and Science since it was her goal to inspire young students in STEM areas. After teaching special education and elementary classes for two years, Jess took a job at Cresskill Middle/High School to help develop a STEM program for grades 6-12. During her five-year tenure in the Cresskill School District, Jess wrote and implemented seven integrated STEM courses, began a Robotics team, and engaged in professional development to inspire other teachers to add in STEM in all grades!
Jess has always had a passion for learning, which is why she earned two master’s degrees while teaching in Cresskill. Jess earned a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in STEM as a part of the NASA Endeavor Teaching Fellowship and also a master’s in Science Education from WGU. After seven years of teaching a variety of STEM courses, Jess was inspired by her students’ persistence in problem solving to go back to school full-time to earn her doctorate degree. While at Drexel University, Jess worked with STEM majors pursuing teaching degrees and teachers within the Philadelphia School District. Jess was also a research assistant on three different large-scale NSF grant projects. Jess’s personal research focuses on redefining and normalizing failure experiences for K-12 students. Her dissertation research involved identifying ways in which students are introduced to failure in the midst of engineering design projects and capturing how students come to make meaning of failure throughout the design process.
Most importantly, Jess is looking forward to combining her teaching experiences with her research experiences to inspire students to persist through failure in both the STEAM lab and mathematics classrooms. Jess’s professional passions include engaging students in deep problem solving and fully integrating subjects across multiple disciplines. She will be focusing on developing epistemic practices in the STEAM lab so students in all grades at VCS are inspired to consider STEAM careers in their future endeavors.