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Kate Kogge

Science Teacher & Lab Tech, Albemarle County Schools

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Do not give in to imposter syndrome! Do you have the drive? Are you curious about the natural world? Do you want to make an impact? Then you are exactly where you need to be.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I work with an incredible team of content experts to create cross-curricular projects for students in grades 6-8. We have created programs that have directly impacted our community and have brought a sense of agency to each of our students.
In the IVF lab, I help families grow and apply my training to the andrology side of this fascinating field. It's always fun when I can share my lab experience with my students and help them see the real-world application of their studies.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I used to work in a clinical laboratory full-time, but I always felt this urge to make a greater impact on our world. I was a teaching assistant for biotechnology and environmental chemistry courses as an undergrad, so I knew the power of hands-on science education. I made the decision to go into education in 2013 and I have never looked back (although I do still work in the lab fairly often - that's just too fun to give up entirely).

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

A few years back, I was invited to take part in NASA's ICESat-2 Launch a Vandenberg AFB. I had never been to a rocket launch before and it was such a rewarding experience to meet the scientists who made that program possible. I was able to share all of the behind-the-scenes work with my students virtually and we were invited to Goddard Space Flight Center a few months later to meet the team and tour the facility. I never would have imagined that a middle school teacher could be a part of something so incredible.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love working in STEM because I get to see the future of the field every day in my students. They are continuously finding ways to take on real-world challenges through an interdisciplinary (and often wildly creative) approach. I also run a monthly STEM series for a few hundred area students, so being able to watch this range of kids come together and learn is incredibly motivating.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Do not give in to imposter syndrome! Do you have the drive? Are you curious about the natural world? Do you want to make an impact? Then you are exactly where you need to be.

INSPO / FUN FACT

"To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile." - Tina Fey