Alumnae Bulletin Fall 2008

Science With A Global Perspective

For Sarah Fisher vanTeefflen '99, environmental biology and study abroad programs were the most important aspects of her college search.

Sarah Fisher vanTeefflen photo

Sarah Fisher vanTeefflen’99 (center in blue hat) listening to field trip lecture on floodplain ecology in Holland.

“At R-MWC, Dr. Ron Gettinger was challenging as a professor and encouraged me as a mentor, both characteristics I want to emulate in my own teaching. “
—Sarah Fisher vanTeefflen ’99

For Sarah Fisher vanTeefflen ’99, who now lives in Holland, environmental biology and study abroad programs were the most important aspects of her college search.

“I knew I wanted to become a biology teacher, and at R-MWC I was able to combine biology as a major and education as a minor.”

In her junior year, Sarah was able to take incredible courses while attending the University of Reading program, now called the World in Britain . She came to know another country as home, and the experience allowed her to add a foreign perspective to her critical thinking skills.

Sarah returned to Reading for the six-month Work in Britain program and began her teaching career as a substitute teacher at Little Heath, a specialist school in science and math.

Upon returning home, Sarah taught for schools in New England and Pennsylvania before relocating to Holland. Abroad again, Sarah taught English at a local college and science and technology at an international school. She attributes much of her success to her professors at R-MWC and her liberal arts degree.

“At R-MWC, Dr. Ron Gettinger was challenging as a professor and encouraged me as a mentor, both characteristics I want to emulate in my own teaching. He built my confidence and my expectation to get a master’s in biology,” recalls Sarah.

Sarah conducted research on the uptake kinetics of ammonia in a tropical sea grass while completing her master’s degree in biology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen Holland.

“I love to explore and find out about typical Dutch ecology, for example the ecology of dikes and salt marsh mudflats,” she says. “I try to go to as many natural interpretative centers as I can, to get an idea of not only the biodiversity of Holland, but also how Dutch people relate to their largely man-made landscapes.”

Sarah’s life blends several cultures. When she is not taking classes at Radboud herself, she teaches English as a native speaker one day a week at a Dutch school for gifted junior high students. She also transcribes interviews of genomic researchers for a German professor of science.