In the face of looming budget cuts and daunting drop-out rates, Tamica Stubbs inspired her underprivileged Charlotte, N.C., students to embrace the sciences, as well as a brighter future. Earning millions in grants and scholarships for her innovative excellence in the classroom, this high school biology teacher has met the challenges threatening school districts across America and found a way to help her students rise above.
Tamica Stubbs is making history … with hands-on research programs that produce nationally competitive nanoscience and biotechnology students at EE Waddell High. In 2001, Stubbs brought her expertise as a top-notch science educator and grant winner to the school, where 61 percent of the student population is economically disadvantaged.
Hailing from a single parent, low-income household in Philadelphia, Stubbs understands the struggles and potential of her students, and that challenging them is a means to success. Over the past decade, Stubbs has instituted science teams like the Students Modeling A Research Topic (SMART), which enables high-school students to participate in college-level projects, like designing and constructing active, lab-ready protein models.
Although the school still suffers from low test scores as a whole, Stubbs’ students have excelled, presenting at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Their achievement has reflected Stubbs’ unwavering commitment to learning – her honors include a Burroughs Wellcome Fund $175,000 five-year grant and a fellowship with the nonprofit Society for Science and the Public, funding that Stubbs has cycled back into her student science programs for future competitions.
What’s next for Tamica?
Since the Charlotte School District Board’s recent decision to close EE Waddell High at the end of the academic year, Stubbs is looking for a new home for her independent science research programs. Other North Carolina schools are interested in continuing Stubbs’ programs – and bringing her current Waddell student participants along with them.
Meantime, Stubbs is also pursuing a doctoral degree in Science Education, and her long-term goal is to open her own STEM school for underserved high school students.
In her own words …
“The students are very much willing to follow no matter what the sacrifice is, the distance and what not,” Stubbs told the Society for Science & the Public when asked in January about the future of her student program. “I think it shows the power of the program and its ability to bring in students.”
A little-known fact …
In 2009, Stubbs won the first Bioachievement award from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
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