Science teacher at Cimarron-Memorial High School o Graduate student o Las Vegas native o Millennium Scholar o First-generation college graduate o Volunteer for Hope House and Key Club service program
VanderMeer is proof that one teacher can change a person's life. Hers changed in a geography class. She had planned to become a social studies teacher but discovered a passion for science in that class. Now she shares that enthusiasm with students like herself -- students who have to be told they can, indeed, go to college.
That teacher gave me a new path in life. There were a lot of challenging and scary times because I wasn't at the top of my class in high school. In a lot of ways, I was like my students now. I needed encouragement, and this guy didn't even know he did that.
Every day I devote my life to 220 students, and they're why I'm now getting my master's. I'm trying to learn more about how to help my students realize they have to get an education.
I'm excited to be chaperoning at the high school robotics competition that UNLV sponsors. It's great that they're going to be cheering for academics. I hope they'll see (UNLV) as a place of opportunity. As citizens with degrees, they can have a positive effect. They can do things like build reservoirs to help with floods.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to hang out with our Title I kids every day after school. It's a federal program for kids who basically are considered homeless. They're able to get food and school supplies and help with homework. We have real conversations.
I guess the one thing that I do for society is I provide relationships to people. I'm there for people. I don't have money. I do acts of service instead.
Many of my students wish that they had the ability to go to college but the task seems too overwhelming. The Millennium Scholarship releases some of that burden. It was the only reason I was able to get through college. But more than just that, there were these standards. You had to keep your grades up. You had to take so many classes. That really did help me learn the appropriate behaviors in school and how to take responsibility.
If you want to live in a great community then you need to raise great students. They learn how to be better through higher education. They learn how to be good citizens.