Natalie Naranjo, PEL Fellow 2014-2016
Full-time PEL Fellow at Calhoun, 2015-16
Natalie Naranjo, a native of Highland Park, NJ, graduated from SUNY Geneseo in May of 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biophysics. At the same time she was pursuing her degree, Natalie spent three years as a math tutor, which sparked an interest in the field of education. Since graduating, she has held several teaching positions and is fueled by a desire to not only help younger students find a passion for science and mathematics, but to increase the math proficiency of minority and lower-income students. A volunteer teaching position with the Vista Grande High School in Taos, NM led to a full-time job at the same school. She divided her time there by assisting the math, science and special education teachers, while also tutoring the Native American students. In these different roles, Natalie employed teaching techniques borrowed from the Expeditionary Learning Schools' methodology. Over the summer, Natalie worked with middle and high school students in Boston as a Teacher's Assistant at Northeastern's MathPower Algebra Plus Summer Academy. Natalie realizes the impact that progressive education and progressive learning can have on her students' lives. She says, "Progressive education, be it expeditionary, project-based, or experiential, gives students a reason to care about their learning and a context for why the skills they're learning are useful." One of Natalie's hopes is that her current and future students will take the skills that she has taught them in the classroom and apply them in real-world situations.
Full-time PEL Fellow at Calhoun, 2014-15
Sue Li is a 2012 graduate of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in English and neuroscience. During her college years, she worked as a docent at the U of M Natural History Museum and as a research assistant at two different labs, facilitating research projects, collecting and analyzing data, and co-authoring study papers on neuroimaging, aging and cognition. In addition to her lab work, Sue worked as a counselor at a U of M summer camp, where she taught hands-on lessons to elementary and middle school children on topics such as astronomy, ecology and paleontology. In addition to her science studies and extracurricular activities, Sue held the position of editor-in-chief of U of M's monthly literary magazine, Fortnight, for two years. Recalling some of her favorite teachers, Sue says she was deeply affected by their deep knowledge and love of their subject, their ability to adjust their teaching methods for individual students, and their encouragement for students to take a stake in their own learning. She points to these memorable elements of her learning experience to explain how her passion for progressive education has fueled her work and propelled her to pass on the same elements to her own students in the future.