Soldan International Studies High School
Saint Louis, Missouri
After earning a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Westminster College, Valentina worked as a scientist in the BioOrganics Department at Sigma-Aldrich Corporation for three years. Seeking to strengthen her content knowledge, she enrolled in a chemistry doctoral program at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL), where she successfully defended her dissertation in May 2013. While working as an organic chemistry teaching assistant and instructor at WUSTL, she was introduced to the teaching profession. Her volunteer work with underprivileged youth through Restore Saint Louis led her further down the path of becoming a teacher. A summer teaching experience with Teach for America cemented her decision.
During an especially difficult AP chemistry lesson on redox reaction, Valentina was amazed to see her students actively engaged for three full hours. She was especially thrilled to see them supporting one another. This moment, along with many others, have served as encouragement for her, as she realizes that full engagement and support are not always a reality in a large classroom.
As a KSTF Teaching Fellow, she expects to gain “ideas, inquiry, self-development, partnerships, and friendships.”
Valentina is passionate about traditional forms of art from various cultures. She enjoys salsa, ballroom and traditional dance from her native country, Moldova. Valentina has danced the oldest dance ever—Bharatnatyam—and has been learning kung fu from a Shaolin master.