Science Teacher and PhD Student Wants to Impact Education
Written Spring 2006
Some might say Comfort Ateh took a circuitous route to teaching, earning bachelor’s and PhD degrees in agronomy before tackling a teaching credential at UC Davis in 2000. But Ateh sees life as one continuous journey of discovery.
Working in agricultural extension as a post-doc at UC Davis, Ateh didn’t feel she could see the impact she was making even though she loved the research aspect of her work. Educational research looked like a better path, but Ateh felt she needed to have some teaching experience first.
In 2000, she earned a secondary science credential and has been teaching ever since.In 2004, she entered the School’s PhD program. She spent her first three years teaching at a school for at-risk students.
“It was the greatest experience of my life,” said Ateh. “The students really needed help; some were from broken homes, some of their parents were in jail, others were victims of violence. Working with kids who really, really need you is very humbling. It really disciplines you as a teacher.”
Today, she teaches science to high school students at a charter school in Sacramento that emphasizes the importance of maintaining small learning communities and provides support to students who were not finding success at larger comprehensive high schools.
Spring 2010 Note: Comfort Ateh accepted an assistant professorship at Providence College in Rhode Island, to begin fall 2010.