Teaching Fellow alumni Iliana Correa is an inspiring example of how Breakthrough is helping change STEM education today. Breakthrough provided Iliana with her first classroom experience in the Summer of 2022 and throughout School Year 2022-23, opening up a new career path. She currently teaches Upper School Science at Thayer Academy in Braintree, Massachusetts while completing her Master’s in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Correa was in her sophomore year of college during the early days of the pandemic. “I started tutoring [college] chemistry students in one-on-one sessions. It was my anchor in 2020. I fell in love with teaching them…[I realized] this is what I want to do - I want to teach Chemistry.” But a teaching career would be almost impossible without a pedagogical degree or classroom experience.
Through Breakthrough, Iliana gained that direct experience teaching, creating lesson plans, and receiving both mentorship and community. “Breakthrough taught me flexibility. It allowed me to be in the moment: it’s not working? What can I do?” By following Breakthrough scholar’s questions and engagement, her teaching became more fun and more effective. Ms. Correa already has plans to improve STEM pedagogy beyond her own exciting classrooms: a PhD in Chemical Education with research experience and curriculum work.