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Study Science and Learn to Teach It

The Secondary Science Education major at the University of Delaware offers students interested in teaching middle or high school science the opportunity to study their scientific area of interest while also learning about and practicing the best teaching methods. 

Bachelors degrees are offered in Biology Education​Chemistry Education​Earth Science Education and Physics Education​. All programs are accredited by the  National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).​​ 

Students complete the requirements for a Liberal Arts degree by majoring in their content area and taking professional education courses as well. Qualifie​d students can enroll in Honors sections of several laboratory and lecture sections each semester. On completing the state-approved program’s requirements students will receive the university’s endorsement for teaching certification.​

To learn more about secondary education opportunities in different disciplines, please visit the UD Secondary Education​​ page.

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  • Kathryn Baker-Smith
    AP Biology Teacher

    Baker-Smith has degrees in both Exercise Sceince (2004) and Biology Education (2007) and has taught all levels of biology from summer school to AP Biology. She currently teaches AP Biology, Honors Biology and Biology at Bartram Trail High School in Saint Johns County Florida. 

    She credits the Biology Education program at the University of Delaware with preparing her for her current job. "The unique student teaching opportunity at UD prepared me for the classroom in every way. When I started teaching I immediately teamed with the other new teacher and we worked together to co-plan lessons. We developed labs and activities that we both did and it was great. I was able to bring more than my fair share to the table and amazed veteran teachers with my ideas and planning skills. 

    I obtained a solid foundation in teaching skills so when I entered my own classroom I was able to immediately start teaching. I knew how to manage a classroom, work with others, and I was comfortable running the day-to-day minutiae of a classroom."​

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  • Erik Gundersen
    Superintendent of Schools

    ​Gundersen has spent his entire career at Pascack Valley Regional High School District as a physics teacher, science supervisor, director of curriculum and in his current position as superintendent of schools.

    The author of The Handy Physics Answer Book and Applied Physics, Gundersen also received New Jersey's Carol Escobar Award for Excellence in Physics Teaching and New Jersey's Technology Education Association's Award for Supervisor of Excellence. A class he cotaught on Physics & Technology was featured on the New Jersey Public Television program Classroom Close-up NJ​.

    Gundersen came to UD expecting to major in computer science but changed to Physics Education after his first year and says he is grateful that UD was flexible in allowing him to do so.

    "The University of Delaware continues to have a powerful impact on my career and my district.  As superintendent of schools, I foster an environment that emphasizes the importance of academic rigor and achievement, but also recognizes that life requires a balanced approach. It is vital that students connect their studies to real life and future aspirations by expanding learning opportunities through travel, internships and partnerships with schools and universities outside the community.  

    In addition, UD emphasized that co-curricular activities and establishing leadership roles in such organizations provides a sense of fulfillment and also helps contribute back to the university.  I recall my involvement and leadership role in UD's sailing club as being a defining experience for me and as it allowed me to contribute to the school community.  I believe it is important for high schools to provide such opportunities for students and have continued to expand opportunities for our students."

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  • Kammas Murphy
    Science Department Chair

    ​​In addition to earning a degree in Chemistry Education, Murphy also received a M.A. in Educational Technology from the University of Delware in 2016. She teaches chemistry and is the science department chair at Saint Elizabeth's High School in Wilmington, Delaware. During the 2013-14 school year, she was a fellow in the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA​) New Science Teacher Academy​; she also won the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers​ in 2016.

    ​Murphy cites the faculty at UD with helping her achieve her potential in and out of the classroom. 

    "Throughout methods and student teaching [my professors] gave me guidance and feedback to improve my practices. During student teaching I was sponsored to attend the NSTA National Conference. This opened my eyes to the support and resources available from the science teacher community. It made me feel confident that no matter where I landed after graduation, I would have a large network of experience available to me."

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  • Jessica Krim
    Associate Professor of Science Education

    ​Krim, an associate professor of science education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, has also taught both middle school and high school earth science. She started her career by teaching biology at Hopi Junior/Senior High School in Keams Canyon, Arizona before returning to Wilmington, Delaware, where she taught earth science at Hanby Junior High School. Inspired by these teaching experiences, she earned her masters and doctoral degrees in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis in science education.

    She says that her educational experience both at UD and away from it on an exchange program helped prepare her for her professional career: "Participating in the National Exchange Program and spending a semester at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado provided me with the opportunity to take additional geology classes, further explore the Four Corners area, and to become a more independent person.

    As a current college professor, I reflect regularly upon what college provides to young adults, and I see myself in my students every day. UD, in particular, was a place where I was able to explore my professional and personal interests (I changed my major several times and graduated as a super-senior), as well as a place where I was treated as an adult, and held accountable for my progress in the classroom. For me UD was a place to grow, and a place in which I could grow up, and I believe this experience is reflected in the care and concern I have for my current students.​"

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  • David LaFazia
    Energy Technologies Department Chair

    ​​​LaFazia worked at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Delaware ​as a physics instructor (crossing into chemistry, earth science, and astronomy) from 2005 to 2011​.​​​ ​He earned his doctorate in education focusing on curriculum, technology, and higher education from UD in 2016 and currently serves as the chair of the ​Energy Technologies department at the Owens Campus of Delaware Technical Community College. In 2015 he was awarded the Phi Theta Kappa Horizon Advisor Award​.

    LaFazia says his varied educational experience and the relationships he formed at UD have served him for the entirety of his career.

    "My time as an astronomy research assistant under Dr. John Gizis was foundational to my current views on the value of undergraduate research.  Being an officer in the Society of Physics Students was also an excellent preparatory experience for real world interactions in academic settings, and helped to lay the groundwork (among other activities) for leadership in my career.  One of the most defining experiences for me, however, was how welcoming the graduate students in the Physics Department were.  I spoke with them often, and they shared their time and office spaces freely with me as mentors.

    Beyond aiding me towards development as an educational leader, my UD network has been vital to my growth and awareness of professional opportunities over the years.  The friendships and relationships I formed during my undergraduate years have continued on and I am still seeing the fruit of those relationships over a decade later.​"

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  • Center for Secondary Education
  • 77 Main Street
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-4546
  • secondary@udel.edu