Alexa Brown: Grad Spotlight


Graduate Spotlight: Alexa Brown

Name: Alexa Brown

Age: 26

Course of Study (degree being earned): M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction and iSTEM Certification 

Hometown: Killeen, TX 

I have always been a science and nature person, so I did my undergrad in wildlife biology at Texas State. I loved everything about it except for the lack of diversity. That lack of diversity in my program and in the various natural resources jobs I had shifted my focus to sharing all of the knowledge and experience that I gained with diverse groups of people in my community. I figured out very quickly that just because you know the content well doesn't mean you can teach it well! I started the program because I wanted to gain those skills and get better at engaging diverse student populations. I basically wanted to become the mentor/educator I wish I had growing up, so once I saw that there were STEM education classes, I was sold!  

What was your favorite class and/or who was your favorite professor? Why? 

I have had a lot of great classes, but my favorite class is my independent study class that I am finishing up now. I am taking some old natural resources education curriculum and transforming it to be more multicultural and accessible to diverse populations. My favorite professor is Dr. Haddad because he challenged me to do things I never would have thought I was capable of doing, like recording a podcast episode! When I first found out that I would have to record one, I was like whaaat? It ended up being a great experience, and we did cool projects that brought up important conversations about DEI in his classes all the time. 

What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned over the course of your studies?

 The most important thing I learned throughout my time in the program is that you have to be reflective of your practices and beliefs and ask yourself how you could be contributing to systems of oppression. Also, that being in those uncomfortable situations and conversations is what makes you grow as a person. 

Describe any professional experiences or internship opportunities you have had. 

I worked as a Graduate Assistant throughout my time in the program, so I was able to learn so much from my professors and other faculty at UTSA. I also had the opportunity to work on various research projects with classmates that come from different cultures and backgrounds and present at conferences. All of the networking, workshops, and events at UTSA have been so valuable to my professional development. 

What are your plans for the future and/or your career?

 I want to take everything I have learned and bring it to the students in my community through informal education institutions. The goal is to be in a leadership position at an organization with educational programs that strive to increase access to nature, science, and STEM for marginalized groups. Eventually, I would like to incorporate all of my beliefs, values, knowledge, and experience into my own nonprofit organization that sets an example for others on engaging, supporting, and uplifting marginalized students and communities. 

 Congratulations to all of our 2021 COEHD graduates! See more COEHD graduate spotlights here.