I applied for the Kenan Fellowship specifically for the opportunity to intern at the EPA. My passion as an educator is teaching social justice, and the fellowship at the EPA seemed to be a way to combine that passion with STEM instruction through environmental justice work. I applied for the program the past two years with this intent. Luckily for me, this year turned out to be the year I was accepted into the program. Going through the application process twice allowed me time to think more deeply about how I can better apply that social justice lens to systems within my teaching context.
As I learned more about the program, I realized that while I want to develop an environmental justice project based on this experience, I also want to use this internship as an opportunity pathway for my students of color and students from low income backgrounds. Knowing the changing landscape of our workforce, I want all of my students to see themselves in STEM fields because they have the content mastery, an awareness of pathways, and a sense of connection to these fields. This belief requires that I boost my understanding of these professions and alter my teaching practice by prioritizing STEM instruction. Aligning this prioritization with social justice work, I hope to create an experience for my students in which they can use STEM to advocate for themselves and others.