My name is Megan Garner and I graduate from the MAEd Science Education program at East Carolina University August 1, 2014. I have lived in Greenville, North Carolina my entire life and always knew I would be an ECU Alumnus like my family members. My family and I proudly support ECU and its contributions to the eastern North Carolina region. We are longtime members of the Pirate Club, and regularly participate in university events.
My father, Mark Garner, graduated from ECU in 1977 with a BS-Professional degree in Urban and Regional Planning and an emphasis on Environmental Resources. He is a Vice President with Rivers and Associates, Inc., a civil engineering, urban planning, surveying and landscape architecture firm serving eastern North Carolina, where he has been employed since graduation. He is the incoming Secretary of the East Carolina University Board of Visitors, serves on the East Carolina University Alumni Association Board of Directors and is Chairman of East Carolina University Urban and Regional Planning Advisory Board. My mother, Gail Garner, is a retiree of ECU’s Business Affairs, Materials Management, where she served as the University’s Pro Card Assistant Manager. My sister, Kelly Dixon, graduated from ECU in 1999 with a BS Degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Decision Science – Management Information Systems. She is employed since graduation with the Polly Piland State Farm Insurance agency in Greenville.
I was raised in the southern culture that taught the importance of hard work, strength in family, southern charm and respect for others. I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. I believe that everything in life is an adventure, happens for a reason and that every experience provides opportunity to learn something new. My hobbies include vacationing at the beach, watching football, organizing, and socializing with family and friends.
I went to G.R. Whitfield School, followed by D.H. Conley High School, Pitt Community College (PCC), and lastly East Carolina University (ECU). I attended PCC on an athletic scholarship for 2 years. During this time I maintained a 3.8 GPA, earned a position on the ALL Academic Region X softball team, and learned the values of responsibility and time management while completing my general college courses. In 2006 I transferred to East Carolina University and began working towards my future career in education. As a student at East Carolina University, I was selected to join the BB&T Teacher Leadership Academy and the National Scholars Honor Society. I was an active member of the Elementary Education Club, Student North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina Science Teachers Association.
In 2008, while still working on my undergraduate degree, I began working as a counselor for the ECU Summer Science Camp. Since then, I have advanced to Assistant Director and Pre-service Teacher Mentor. This camp has allowed me to gain a confidence in teaching science and my ability to construct effective science curriculums. I have been able to enhance my leadership skills by mentoring pre-service teachers and have impacted the lives of many children in the process.
During the 2008-2009 academic year, I completed my senior internship at Chicod School in Pitt County. I was nominated for the Clinical Latham Award at ECU and awarded the 2009 Outstanding Elementary School Student Teaching in Science Award in Greensboro at the North Carolina Science Teachers Annual Professional Development. After graduating Cum Laude in 2009 with a BS in Elementary Education and concentration in General Science, I taught 5th grade math and science for 3 years at Ridgewood Elementary School in Pitt County. During this time, I earned the opportunity to become the lead science instructor for my school.
In 2012, I decided to leave my teaching position and pursue my master’s degree. Walking away from a job that I was good at and provided me adequate financial stability was difficult. However, I knew deep down inside that I had a larger purpose in education, and science was my interest. While in graduate school, I was fortunate to have been offered a graduate assistantship position with the ECU Elementary Science Concentration. My duties have included recruitment, aiding in classroom investigations, course revisions, research, constructing conference proposals and presenting at State, National, and International Science Conferences.
Based on my experience at ECU, the Science Education program area has a remarkable team of instructors and professors that have a true passion for science and future teachers. Since 2006, when I transferred to ECU and began taking science education courses, I have witnessed and participated in so many changes within the MSITE department. I have seen restructuring of courses, program areas, and the building itself. I have invested many years in the Science Education program at ECU, and I feel that entering the Graduate Program for Science Education was the best decision I ever made for my career in education.
I have learned more about myself in the past two years than I ever would have if I had not decided to earn my master degree. This graduate program has increased my science knowledge in content, pedagogy, and methodology. I have acquired a desire to know more about science and science teaching. This journey has been longer than expected, tiring on several occasions, but worth every bit of my student loans! I honestly feel that in 2012 I made a life changing choice.
I want to be more than a science teacher; I want to be part of the reform that is needed in science education today. East Carolina University’s Graduate Program for Science Education has prepared me to contribute to this change. I recommend that all preservice teachers and current teachers consider this program. It will change your outlook on science education, your disposition as a science teacher and develop an overflowing passion for science; I am living proof!
Currently, I hold a 4.0 GPA and will be graduating Summa Cum Laude. I have worked very hard to shape my career as an educator and advocate for science and science education. My future endeavors include earning my PhD in Science Education from N.C. State University, and continuing to support reform in science education. I am a follower of the Christian faith and understand that tomorrow is not promised. I will continue to use the tools with which I have been provided to do what I can today, personally, professionally, and spiritually, to contribute to a better possible tomorrow!
GO PIRATES!!! AARRGGHH!!