Justine Carryer

Justine smiling and sitting on rocks

Class of 2013, Physics and Studio Art double major and Math minor

Teacher and non-profit leader

Q & A

I'm a high school teacher and also the executive director of my own non-profit. I just co-founded an outdoor STEM school in Page, Arizona. I'm going to be their director of curriculum and instruction.

I really like teaching physics. I love working with kids and doing projects. Education could better serve our populations. I enjoy being able to do something that is relevant and fun for them. For a lot of them, school is a safe place to eat and make friends, but they are academically underserved. I love working with kids and I connect with high school kids. I founded the non-profit to do more outside of the classroom with students.

Surya Zoba Studies provide regional experiential education for at-risk youth and is open to everybody. My pilot program in 2017 was a four-week long program. We built a shed, explored the Navajo generating station, and explored the Glen Canyon Dam. We also picked a problem that Page is facing and designed a solution following the engineering steps of designing and building. I would love to do more programs like that. I designed a biodiversity curriculum for the national parks to use as a curriculum for outreach with youth. I was the sponsor for the Glen Canyon Outdoor Academy. I would also like to do free programs for kids.

We were in Baca for quantum mechanics II and Dick said go explore the beautiful outdoors. So, we just went on this awesome hike and it was pretty snowy. I brought my snow boots but no one else did. I ended up post-holing up the mountain in the snow. That's what I loved so much about the physics professors and the students; it's a much more well-rounded approach. The professors are amazing physicists and they hold you to a high standard but they are interested in other things and talk with you about those things, too. I really appreciated how the physics department encourages you to do more than just physics.

I'm really focused on teaching STEM. I could have done that without majoring in it, but it is really important to be knowledgeable about the subject matter because some students are going to have deeper questions so it's good to have higher-level knowledge. My math curriculum is very focused on real-world applications, and I wouldn't have all those ideas without my physics background. I think a physics background also really has helped me to stand out as a hire since not as many people study physics too. I just built a house too and physics has really instilled in me a problem-solving mindset that helps me to plan and execute complicated projects like building a house.

Pretty much everything. During my Junior year of college, my dad called me and encouraged me to try teaching math or science at the high school level and I laughed at him. I thought I wanted to get my Ph.D. and do research, and then here I am teaching now and I totally love it. I never thought I would start my own business or be so into the outdoors. Pretty much most of the things I do were unpredicted. Except building my own house. I always knew I wanted to build a house.

I did two REUs during college, and I thought I was going to eventually become a professor. I was interested in the teaching aspect of being a professor. After doing my second REU, though, I realized I wasn't that excited about dedicating a bunch of my life to research and not being passionate about it. I realized that I may enjoy teaching high school since I had been excited about teaching. I figured I could apply for grad school after a year or two of teaching if I wanted to. I heard about a program called the New Teacher Project so I decided to try it. I wanted to stay in Colorado, so I looked in the area but I ended up in Arizona.

In high school when I first took physics, it just answered all of these questions I had about the world. I just felt like it was something I had already been interested in and I wanted to learn more. I really wanted to learn more about the subject but didn't really have a career in mind. That's why grad school made sense to me since I wanted to continue learning.

I have become really passionate about education. The state of public education in our country is seriously messed up. The system needs significant remodeling and I am really excited about being in control of my own non-profit to fill the gaps in the system and provide experiences that students deem valuable. I have also been able to bring my passion for the outdoors to my school. I am excited about bringing students outside and helping them to have a relationship with the outdoors. I also enjoy my own freedom in my life. I have been able to balance this career with personal adventures and projects. I just built myself a house which has always been a dream and a project I may not have been able to accomplish if I had gone into grad school, for example.

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Report an issue - Last updated: 02/15/2022