Florida State University

Senior Miriam Ojima has big plans once she graduates this spring with a double major in science or mathematics teaching and biological science. Thanks to FSU-Teach, a joint program of the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, Ojima has broadened her horizons as a biologist, acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a future in education.

Prior to coming to Florida State, Ojima spent time growing up in Pennsylvania, as well as California, Hawaii and Japan. Her close proximity to the ocean fueled her fascination with marine life. Ojima recognizes that it was her passion for marine biology and her embrace of change that finally led her to attend FSU.

"I had never been to Florida before, and FSU offered a great program in marine biology," Ojima said.

Since coming to Florida State, Ojima has maintained a GPA of 3.94, appearing on the Dean's List every semester and the President's List twice. She also has participated in a number of research internships studying plant ecology and evolutionary genetics. Ojima acknowledges the guidance of Florida State biological science professors Don Levitan and Alice Winn, as well as the patience of assistant graduate students as key factors in her development as a scientist.

"Every person I met at FSU allowed me to grow and taught me something new," she said.

Currently, Ojima is interning at Griffin Middle School in Tallahassee as a student teacher through the FSU-Teach program. This program has allowed her to combine her lifelong passion for biology with her recent passion of educating others.

During her senior year of high school, Ojima conducted a yearlong research project on homelessness in Japan. She cites a lack of education as the leading cause of this social issue.

"Education is the key out of the poverty cycle," Ojima said, "I want to be the teacher who sparks a student's interest in biology and inspires students to reach for their goals. Even if biology is not their passion, I want to be able to model lessons that are applicable beyond the classroom, such as what it means to be an active learner, what it means to reach your full potential, and what the value is in doing your best."

After graduating, Ojima plans to fulfill her desire to enhance the quality of education in low-income areas by teaching secondary science with Teach For America's Metro Atlanta Corps.

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