Veterans Day Spotlight 2021 - Kelly Garcia

Special Veterans Day Member Spotlight: Kelly Garcia

Thank you Kelly for your service to our country and your ongoing dedication to the science community.

Tell us about yourself.
I served in the US Navy from 1987 - 1993 as a Cryptologic Technician Maintenance Petty Officer Second Class. For this job, I learned how to repair cryptologic communications equipment. It was here that my science and engineering background started. I was able to use my GI Bill to earn my bachelor's degree, and to ultimately become a teacher.

What are some similarities between being a science educator and serving in the military?
In the Navy, I had to continuously work at learning about new kinds of equipment, tools, and concepts related to electricity and electronics to stay current with my job. This helped me to develop a sense of self confidence, so even when I don't necessarily know something, I know I can learn it. Having the mindset of a continuous learner has helped me to stay current with my content and technology as a teacher.

How can a foundation in STEM and NGSS concepts benefit students who are considering a military career?
STEM and NGSS concepts set a foundation for effective, systematic problem solving no matter what you are dealing with. In the Navy, I often had to repair equipment that I wasn’t trained on, so I had to rely on my understanding of concepts and the scientific investigation process to complete my tasks. All branches of the military have specific job ratings that involve STEM, so having a strong foundation can open doors of opportunity for training that will be relevant in both military and civilian career fields.

What is the best thing about being a CASE member?
There are a lot of great things about being a CASE member, but mostly I appreciate the resources that are available to support my own understanding of my content as well as the instructional strategies that I need to use to support student learning.

What is your favorite movie or book and why?
I don’t really have just one favorite movie, but one that comes to mind is Spare Parts. This movie is about a high school robotics team that competes in their first competition and ultimately wins against top college teams. It’s one of my favorites because I love a good underdog situation, and having coached robotics in the past, I can relate to the challenges that the team faces as they compete.