Go to Top


Nicole Fernandes

2013 Fellow
Northwood High School
Silver Spring, Maryland

Despite growing up in suburban Los Angeles, Nicole developed a love for insects and the natural world. She knew from a young age that she would study entomology, and earn a bachelor’s degree in the subject from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). For several months during her undergraduate career at UCR, Nicole studied tropical ecology in Costa Rica. She admired Costa Ricans’ strong environmental ethic, which she attributed largely to the country’s environmental education programs

Following graduation, Nicole worked for the National Wildlife Federation and the Urban Corps of San Diego as an environmental educator. After a few years, she relocated to the Midwest to study environmental education and public policy at two University of Michigan graduate schools. This is where Nicole first taught in a formal classroom setting. While teaching biology to undergraduate students, she enjoyed watching them make revelations about the natural world, as she shared her passion for it.

Her next career move took her to Washington, D.C. For more than four years, she worked for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Although she enjoyed helping shape the budget and policies of the National Park Service, she longed to be back in the classroom.

Nicole began the Master’s Certification Program at the University of Maryland in the summer of 2013. In the future, she hopes to secure a teaching position at a high-performing high school in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, or perhaps in her home state.

In her free time, Nicole enjoys drumming with Batala Washington (an all-female Afro-Brazilian percussion band), hiking, exploring the East Coast, and traveling and spending time with family.



I have already learned so much about teaching science in the little time I have spent interacting with KSTF staff, fellows, and supporters. I anticipate continuing to share ideas and resources, so that we can all be more effective teachers who empower our students to think critically about science and the world around them

Nicole Fernandes
2013 Fellow