Teaching is about asking questions. It’s about learning your students’ perspectives. It’s about taking risks, and it’s about sometimes failing boldly, all in the interest of getting your students to care and learn and grow a little bit more.”

Shelley’s Story

A graduate of Harvey Mudd College with a degree in physics, Shelley Stanphill had initially planned to pursue a PhD in the sciences. During a college summer internship, Shelley designed curriculum and taught 7th grade biology to low-income students in Sacramento, Calif. The next year, she interned at the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms, where she helped design and implement high school lessons in physics. Both experiences reinforced her appreciation of teaching as an intellectual challenge and set her on her course toward becoming a physics teacher.

A 2004 National Merit Scholar and Harvey S. Mudd Scholar, Shelley was on her college’s Dean List for five semesters. She was a volunteer crisis counselor for Project Sister in Pomona, Calif. In the summer of 2008, Shelley traveled to Kenya to teach in a village school in an underdeveloped part of the country. Teaching runs in Shelley’s family. Her cousin is a high school mathematics teacher, her grandfather taught chemistry and her aunt teaches music. In addition to teaching, Shelley is passionate about music and was trained as a classical pianist.