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Karen Schmidt


I have a B.S. in Chemistry from San Jose State, as well as a graduate certificate in Science Communication and M.A. in Education from UC Santa Cruz. I worked for 18 years as a Science Journalist, in which I interviewed and visited many scientists’ laboratories while writing feature and news articles for magazines. I love learning about the latest scientific breakthroughs and communicating about them! So being a science teacher was a perfect “next career.” I’ve now been a teacher for seven years, including six at Rolling Hills Middle School in PVUSD. In the summer of 2012 I was Lead Teacher for the UCSC Girls in Engineering program. I am credentialed to teach Chemistry, Life Sciences, and Geosciences, and also enjoy doing Engineering projects with students.


I love to travel and have had a lot of opportunities to do so. I spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where I taught Community Health. I was a Fulbright Scholar in Bucharest, Romania, where I taught Environmental Journalism. And for fun, I have visited Thailand, Guatemala, and Mexico. The past two summers I was invited to dig for fossils in Panama as part of the Great American Biotic Interchange Research Experience for Teachers. I continue to be part of that amazing Professional Learning Community and to develop lessons from those experiences and connections. I am happily settled with my husband and son in Felton, and consider this area my real home. I am excited to be joining the Science Department at Aptos High—particularly to teach Chemistry, which is my favorite!


To inspire students to be life-long learners by helping them investigate the natural world like real scientists.