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NSU Alumna Accepted into Prestigious Teach for America Program

NSU alumna Nancy Sarmiento

As an undergraduate biology major at NSU’s Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, Nancy Sarmiento spent time in the local community showcasing science to young minds. Now, as an NSU alumna, Sarmiento will teach biology to secondary-school students in Baltimore, Maryland through the Teach for America program. Over the next two years, Sarmiento will also earn her master’s in education from Johns Hopkins University, receiving full scholarship in exchange for her service as a teacher.

“I first heard about this opportunity through a family member who is also a Teach for America member in New York,” said Sarmiento, who graduated from NSU in May 2013. “I wanted to expand my horizons and try something new and different before actually heading to medical school.”

After applying for the competitive program, Sarmiento underwent an extensive interview process, which included a live teaching demonstration in front of other interviewees. Sarmiento said she naturally chose to showcase “Salt Racers”—an experiment she taught several times during NSU’s annual Science Alive! event at Welleby Elementary School in Sunrise.

With “Salt Racers,” Sarmiento challenges her audience members to move a marble to the top of a tube filled with salt, using the power of friction. Sarmiento learned the experiment from her faculty mentors Joshua Loomis, Ph.D., assistant professor at the college, and Emily Schmitt, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of biological science at the college, who organizes Science Alive! each year.

As an official member of Teach for America, Sarmiento will spend this summer training in Philadelphia, and then head to Baltimore to begin teaching biology in August.

“I am excited to be teaching a subject that I am so passionate about to a group of students who may have never come across it before,” said Sarmiento. “I am excited to inspire some of them, so that they may see the beauty in science and how it is everywhere in the world around us.”

See “Salt Racers” in Action

Visit the TEDxNSU Web page to view a video on Science Alive!, featuring Nancy Sarmiento’s demonstration of the “Salt Racers” experiment. (Watch “Lighting the Bulb: Sharing Your Profession and Passion with the Community.”)