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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Camp Inspires Students to Be Math, Science Teachers

Liberal Studies students at camp

They hiked and rock climbed. They did arts and crafts. They bonded and learned about science.

They are a group of 50 Liberal Studies students at San Diego State University who participated on a weekend camp for future middle and high school teachers.

During the two-day at event, which took place at Cuyamaca Outdoor School or Sixth Grade Camp, students got to explore nature, study the stars, participate in recreational activities and learn about math and science.

“We wanted to promote science and outdoor education and encourage students to become science and math teachers,” said Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, director of the School of Teacher Education's Liberal Studies program, who accompanied the students together with three other faculty members. “It was a great bonding experience. They got to bond with each other and with us.

The primary goal of the camp, Loh-Hagan said, was to inspire and encourage the SDSU students to consider a career teaching math and science classes in middle school and high school.

“They realized that science is all around us not just in a lab. The majority of the students are now considering becoming math and science teachers,” said Loh-Hagan. “This is very important because these are the jobs that are essential for the 21st century.”

Gabriela Monarrez, Class of 2020, said she felt like a kid, thirsty for knowledge.

“I found nature [...] so fascinating that I can’t wait to choose the science emphasis,” Monarrez said. “I want to learn much more so that I can be a great science teacher.”

For her part, Paris Bryson, Class of 2019, indicated the weekend excursion was a fundamental influence in her decision to teach middle school.

“I learned how to better connect with students and ways I can get them involved,” said Bryson. “Learning these new skill has made me more confident in my choice to teach middle school.”

The weekend camp was sponsored by Dr. Rafaela Santa Cruz with the School of Teacher Education and the Math Science Teacher Initiative, a collaboration between COE and the College of Sciences to significantly increase single-subject, credential recommendations in mathematics and science.

“I am very grateful. We could not have done it without their support,” Loh-Hagan said. “It was a great opportunity that was very productive and successful.”