My name is Carolina Acevedo Parra and I was born in Medellin, Colombia. When I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from the University of Central Florida in December 2010 I had no set path to follow. My drive for knowledge was the deciding factor as to why I started a graduate program at my alma mater. My undergraduate research had given me a taste of the knowledge and research experience that a graduate program in chemistry had to offer, and I decided to pursue that interest. As a graduate student I did not have a fellowship, so the only way I could afford it was to work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Truthfully, I never thought that teaching would be calling my name.
I remember very clearly how nervous I felt my first day of teaching. No matter how many questions I asked my fellow GTAs, nothing could prepare me for experiencing it firsthand. As my first semester progressed I grew more comfortable teaching a class. I started to look forward to it.
Between the end of my second semester and the start of my third semester I realized something important. It became clear to me that the reason I looked forward to teaching was because I found it more fulfilling and rewarding than anything I had experienced and imagined before. The difference was how at home I felt in the classrooms, the new method of teaching that was implemented (inquiry), and the addition of high school and middle school students into the college laboratories. Seeing the happiness of a student when they’ve finally understood a difficult concept (i.e. chemistry) and realizing that I helped them get to that point is motivating. I will gladly teach for those moments no matter how few and far in between they are. Another reason that I want to teacher is a drive for knowledge and deep interest in sharing my passion in science. This is mainly because in order to teach something you need to understand it better, like Aristotle said, “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.” Most importantly, I want to guide the youth in developing their morals, and learning passion and dedication.