I was motivated by the dream that I would someday inspire my students to study science and math in the same way my high school teachers had inspired me.”

Patricia’s Story

Patricia Schaefer graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee with an honors degree in chemistry and mathematics and took what seemed to be the next logical step. She enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and began working on the thermodynamics and kinetics of biomolecular systems.

As an undergraduate, Patricia briefly considered starting an education program but chose instead to focus on research. “I spent two years studying energy levels of systems containing antimatter particles, during which I began to get a better understanding of what science was truly about.”

Patricia worked as a research assistant in the chemistry department at UW – Madison and as a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses. “I realized that my true passion was not just for the science I was doing but in sharing that science with students in a classroom.” She decided to leave graduate school to pursue a career in secondary education in her third year when she was working as a K-Through-Infinity (KTI) Fellow (a program funded by the National Science Foundation) at a public middle school in Madison, Wis.

Patricia earned her teacher’s certificate from Concordia University in Madison and began teaching chemistry, physics and physical science.