Growing up in Chicago, I always treasured our summer family vacations on Cape Cod. I would pretend I was “Caroline Cousteau,” searching for buried treasure and unique aquatic life. My family and friends were not surprised when I decided to study marine biology and conservation in college and graduate school. Nor where they surprised when I married a shark biologist! I did have a hard time giving up my summer jobs as nanny, preschool director and gymnastics coach to focus on my love of the ocean, however. It wasn’t long before I realized I could marry my two passions: science and teaching. I was lucky to work at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, teaching middle and high school students marine science for 8 years. I feel that nature itself is the best textbook, and relished the ability to take students to live aboard a research vessel in the Caribbean as our floating classroom. I found that experiential lessons, and learning by doing, were the most effective ways for students to love and understand science—even if they never knew a world beyond their concrete walls. I still hold this philosophy and would not be able to teach at a school that didn’t allow me the freedom and flexibility to introduce students to science and nature the way that Beaver encourages me to. Experiential learning, getting out of the classroom, and having fun are principles I use in teaching daily. I only hope my daughters, Vivian and Lila Faye, will be as passionate about their profession one day, as I am about mine.

Name: Michelle Wildes
Title: Assistant Director of the Hiatt Center
Education: University of New Hampshire - B.S. Northeastern University - M.S.
Phone: (617) 738-2700 ext : 206