The online Science/Math, MS Ed program offered from the University of Nebraska at Kearney provides students the opportunity to strengthen skills and knowledge in pedagogical techniques and math/science content.
Offered completely online, the program appeals to teachers who may be teaching in multiple areas within their schools as well as new teachers who are looking for ways to advance up the pay scale while adding professional skills. With her passion for education and experience in the medical field, she is adding courses to her curriculum that will prepare students for the medical field.
Andrea Hoopman, a self-professed life-long learner, is utilizing knowledge gained through the online Math/Science, MS Ed program to provide opportunities for science education in the rural town of Thedford, Nebraska.
In a town with a population of 211, the public high school has approximately 50 students in grades 7 through 12. Hoopman jokes, "I am the whole science department in Thedford, Nebraska," and she does not take her role lightly.
Exceptional learning experiences are important in sparking interest in science for students and Hoopman is doing her part. Through the Math/Science program, Hoopman has brought a new knowledgebase and skills to her classroom. Content covered in her online courses was immediately applicable to her classroom. Now with her master’s degree, Hoopman will be able to offer dual credit science courses for her high school students - an opportunity not always available in many rural schools.
Hoopman has always had a passion for science and learning, but it hasn’t always been as an educator. She originally moved to Omaha from Wyoming to complete an undergraduate degree in Medical Technology and ended up working in the hospital setting for 8 years. However, the work schedule was not conducive to her active family.
"Working in the laboratory and being on call at least three nights a week didn’t work well for my family," Hoopman says. "Finances and lack of 24-hour babysitting caused me to reevaluate my education and my career."
Being the daughter of a teacher, Hoopman understood how the profession has such a big impact on the next generation and the need is great in the State of Nebraska.
Through enhanced course content and offerings, Hoopman hopes to help alleviate some of the healthcare challenges as she helps spark curiosity in the healthcare field in her students and help prepare future medical professionals who will return to the area. According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s report, The Status of the Healthcare Workforce in the State of Nebraska (2018), the State of Nebraska has historically faced substantial challenges in maintaining access to healthcare in rural communities and it is recommended existing pipeline programs and educational initiatives that incentivize health professionals to practice in rural communities should be supported and enhanced.
With her passion for education and experience in the medical field, she is adding courses to her curriculum that will prepare students for the medical field.