Hi, my name is Maranda Holley. I am originally from Huntsville, Alabama. I attended Auburn University and graduated with a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Biology in 2006. During my undergraduate career I worked for the admissions office, welcoming potential and incoming students to Auburn. When I began my undergraduate career my sights were set on the medical field until I began undergraduate research. Upon the completion of my two-hour requirement I was asked to continue my research, which eventually lead to multiple presentations at scientific conferences and a publication. This drove me to pursue a career in academia and research. I began my graduate studies at the University of South Florida, in the Integrative Biology department, in 2007. I worked under Dr. Stephen Deban investigating the morphology of the feeding apparatus of plethodontid salamanders. While in graduate school I began teaching laboratories as a teaching assistant and working part-time at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. In 2009, I realized my love of teaching was greater than my love of research and I left graduate school. I accepted a position at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo in the Education department.
While there I lead a variety of programs spanning from tot and homeschool classes to group and VIP tours. I enjoyed informal education so greatly that I decided I would further my education and seek a degree in education. During the application process, I discovered the Noyce fellowship program and was delighted to discover a program that focused on creating science educators. This fellowship will provide me the opportunity to complete a fast-paced program while gaining the skills and education I desire to become an effective teacher.