Knowing where my identity is anchored in the midst of teaching has been a freeing experience.”

Justine’s Story

Native to a small coastal town in California, Justine has been interested in marine science virtually her entire life. Growing up, she spent a great deal of time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a pastime that fueled her decision to major in aquatics biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). During her freshman year, Justine began working at the Research Experience and Education Facility (REEF), a touch tank education facility. In this position, she performed husbandry duties and taught children about the local marine ecosystem. She later interned at Let’s Explore Applied Physical Science (LEAPS) as an after-school science teacher. Additionally, Justine was selected to work with academically gifted and talented youth via Duke University’s Talent Identification Program. These experiences with students sparked her desire to teach, instead of pursuing a career in research.

Following graduation, Justine worked as a naturalist at Camp SEA Lab. Committed to teaching, she enrolled in UCSB’s teacher education program, where she wrote a master’s thesis that focused on relationships between students and teachers, and how those relationships affect student learning.

She taught Earth Science for two years at Seaside High School before moving to Sugar Land, Texas, where she taught biology and aquatic science at Clements High School. During her tenure at Clements, she also wrote Aquatic Science Curriculum at the district level and served as a professional learning community lead. 

Currently, she works at Trellis Education as the science lead, where she works to support new science teachers as well as their mentors. 

Most of her days are spent with her two young kids. She enjoys going on outdoor adventures and food adventures with her husband, kids, and their golden retriever. She recently dusted off her college skateboard and has been using it to chase down her bike-riding eldest little around the block.