Orford, New Hampshire
Rachel Sanders grew up in Newport, R.I., and became fascinated by the ocean as a teenager. In high school, she was inspired by her biology teacher whose “hands-on, observation-based style of teaching” helped her to develop a love for biology and scientific investigation. During college, Rachel honed her interest in marine science by participating in a year-long marine laboratory program in Washington State, Jamaica and Massachusetts. She enjoyed working as a teaching assistant but continued to focus on a career as a researcher.
In the summer of 2007, Rachel joined the Peace Corps and began teaching biology at a rural high school in the Upper West Region of Ghana. She welcomed the challenges of teaching in a difficult environment. “The lack of laboratory equipment and teaching supplies forced me to focus on teaching methodology and to develop student-centered activities that took advantage of local resources.” The Peace Corps experience ultimately set her on the path of becoming a teacher.
Rachel received a BA in biology from Bowdoin College in 2000 and a master’ degree in biological oceanography from Oregon State University in 2004. She taught introductory biology labs and biological oceanography at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., before completing her secondary education credential at Humboldt State University.