Concurrent Teacher Education (Intermediate/Senior)
Nicole Tsitsopoulos has always wanted to be a teacher. When she crosses the stage on June 12, she is one step closer to her dream.
For Tsitsopoulos, Brock offered a chance to pursue teaching along with another passion: chemistry.
The Concurrent Teacher Education graduate majored in chemistry with a second teachable in mathematics.
Her passion for teaching chemistry and math was sparked by tutoring her peers in those subjects during high school. Tsitsopoulos attended arts-based high school in downtown Toronto where she majored in music, specifically alto saxophone.
“I always had so many questions and wondered why for everything I learned,” said Tsitsopoulos. “I wanted to continue my education in chemistry because I wanted those questions answered.”
Tsitsopoulos did research with Martin Lemaire, Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Chemistry, during her third and fourth years.
“That was probably the best time, when I was working in lab and doing research,” said Tsitsopoulos.
Working with Lemaire, she focused on creating new molecules that could lead to new data storage technologies in molecular-based electronics. Tsitsopoulos’ research was successful and her results are expected to be published in an inorganic chemistry journal in 2019.
“Nicole was a very conscientious student in my lab and really cared about her results and how to communicate her results—all excellent qualities in new teacher, educating future generations,” said Lemaire. “I’m very happy Nicole has decided to become a teacher. We need more people like her in this role.”
Tsitsopoulos’ academic success at Brock extended beyond the chemistry lab. She made the Dean’s Honours List each year and become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society in her third year.
At one point, Tsitsopoulos considered continuing with graduate school in chemistry, but her passion for teaching quickly won out.
“Teaching trumps research by far because I love it so much and I love helping others and getting others to learn how to learn.”
Inspiring the next generation, especially female students, to love chemistry and math is a priority for Tsitsopoulos.
“I just want people to be excited about learning,” said Tsitsopoulos of her drive to make intimidating subjects like chemistry and math accessible and relevant for high school students.
“Chemistry is everywhere. Everywhere you go, the reason things are why they are is because of chemistry.”
Now ready to start her next chapter, Tsitsopoulos says she wouldn’t be where she is today without resources like OSAP and scholarships. She relied heavily on scholarships and bursaries available through Brock’s OneApp to afford her education along with working during summer breaks.
“I also wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support from my family and friends. I met the most outstanding and genuine people at Brock who helped me every step of the way!”
While she’s excited to begin her teaching career, Tsitsopoulos said she also sad to leave Brock. She came to Brock because she fell in love with the community, size and environment.
“It’s just been the best five years of my life.”