Jody Caretti ’22
Jody Caretti ’22 said what interests her most about teaching high school STEM is “being able to share my passion for biology with the students that I will be teaching” and getting her students as excited as she is about STEM.
Caretti, a biology major and chemistry minor from Loretta, Pennsylvania, said the Noyce Scholarship is helping her do this. “[It’s] giving me the chance to diversify my career by allowing me to explore my interest in teaching,” she said. “Without this opportunity, I do not think I would have had the chance to teach beyond tutoring.”
At Lynchburg, Caretti teaches biology in the Peer Assistant Supplemental Study (PASS) program. She said she also benefits from the University’s “phenomenal science professors” and Lynchburg’s robust student life opportunities.
“The greatest benefit of being a Lynchburg student has been the experiences in both academia and life that I have been offered,” she said. “The STEM curriculum has been above and beyond what I imagined, and student life on campus opened me up to a variety of different people and events that I otherwise would not have been exposed to.”
Dylan Dannecker ’24
It’s the “ever-evolving nature” of STEM that’s most interesting to Dylan Dannecker ’24, a transfer student from Lynchburg.
“There are endless possibilities and opportunities within it,” the environmental science major said. “By teaching it to high schoolers, I’m contributing to the relaying of this fascinating information and that’s one of the marks I’d like to leave on the world.”
Thanks to the Noyce program, Dannecker is developing the skills he’ll need to be successful as a teacher without worrying about student debt. “I’m very excited to be embarking on this next chapter of my academic journey and I’m beyond enthused that Noyce is a huge part of that,” he said.
He’s also glad that next chapter is being written at Lynchburg. “The greatest benefit of being a University of Lynchburg student is the substantial amount of attention and engagement you receive, due to the small class sizes,” he said. “This ensures every student can build a connection with their professors and feel comfortable in their learning environment.”
Alyssa Gundel ’22
Alyssa Gundel ’22 says she’s long been “fascinated with the idea that some of the smallest components of life can come together to create a fully functioning organism,” and she always knew she “wanted to make an impact on someone in the world.”
The biology major from Forest, Virginia, plans to do that over and over as a science teacher. “Teaching allows me to make more than just one impact, with a new set of students each year,” she said, “allowing me to help guide and shape students toward their fullest potential.”
As a Westover Honors student at Lynchburg, Gundel is currently working on her thesis and also finds time to serve as a private tutor. What she doesn’t do is fret much over the cost of her education.
“The Noyce program has helped me pursue a career by giving me a board of educators that genuinely care about my opinion [and] who focus on how to best allocate their resources to help me minimize financial worries after school and maximize my underlying potential,” she said.
Hayley Jennings ’22
Hayley Jennings ’22, a transfer student from Altavista, Virginia, said she gets a thrill every time something finally clicks for a student. As a Noyce Scholar, she’s already had opportunities to spend time in the classroom with local teachers and students.
“I chose high school because I have more passion for teaching a higher math level and I have always loved the atmosphere of a classroom,” the math major said. “Helping students learn and seeing them finally getting that rush of excitement when they understand the material. It’s really something that brightens your day and I want to do something that makes me happy and allows me to help others.”
In addition to the financial boost, Noyce has given Jennings the opportunity to attend workshops to learn more about teaching methods and classroom management.
“I’m so happy to be part of this program” she said. “Not only has it helped me learn more, but it has really helped me out financially. I am so beyond thankful for this opportunity and can’t wait to grow even more because of it.”
Abigael Germeroth Lyons ’21
Transfer student Abigael Germeroth Lyons ’21 was the University of Lynchburg’s first Noyce Scholarship recipient, announced in 2019. Lyons, a local resident who considers being a Lynchburg student “no small privilege,” said the contacts she’s made through athletics and academics are “beyond my gratitude.”
The mathematics major and Spanish minor said being a Noyce Scholar is “giving me skills and techniques that I can use in the classroom that better shape my method of teaching.”
On an even more practical note, she added that Noyce is giving her the opportunity to spend more time in the field working with local students and teaches and less time waiting tables.
“[It’s] allowed me to spend more time in my field [rather] than waitress 24/7,” she said. “The greatest benefit of being a [Lynchburg] student is the scholarships that have made college and my career achievable. I wouldn’t be where I am without the Noyce Scholarship and am forever grateful.”