Meet Alona, a Fellow since 2004.

Why did you become a Fellow?
For a long time, my dream was to become

a scientist. As I spent more time doing research, I realized I wanted to work in a profession where I could see the results of my efforts first-hand. Teaching seemed like a perfect way to combine my skills with this goal. I decided to apply for the Fellows program because it gave me the best route for transitioning into teaching.

I know that I can make a positive difference
in my students’ lives. If I do my job well, students will be able to use the knowledge and skills that I teach them well beyond their graduation from high school.

What kind of impact do you feel like you’re
having on your students?

I set high expectations for my students, and they are able to meet them. The students at my school have all transferred from other high schools. They had patterns of truancy or had dropped out of their previous schools for a variety of reasons. When they come to our school, they make a commitment to try to break these patterns and work toward graduation.

They’re learning science in a demanding and
rigorous way. Last year, at the end of the year,
I gave them a sample Regents exam, which they have to pass in order to graduate, as the final exam for my class, and they told me it was easier than all of the tests I had given them. When they actually took the Regents, all but one passed. I hope that my students walk away from the experience understanding that they are capable of achieving anything that they work hard to tackle.