Featured Member Story
If an educational path is expected to be a direct one to a desired goal, then there were definite points where I was lost in the process – I just didn’t know it which probably provided me with my first great challenge and opportunity. In Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat quips “If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.” I could definitely relate to this based on my educational and professional path to the current point in my life. My initial college career focus was in the area of what we now refer to as forensic science. Upon realizing that standing at a lab bench all day wasn’t my idea of science, I switched to be a business major. After all, I was going to pursue my commission through the ROTC program. My major was simply a means to get there. Former teachers continued to tell me to switch to education – that I was a natural at it – and eventually I did which was a good thing, since a broken ankle squashed my chances of being a commissioned officer. The meandering path that I’ve, taken throughout the years has allowed me to return to my business interests and pursue a degree in that area. There is no doubt that challenges emerge in life that redirect your initial path. However, if you accept those challenges and refuse to accept that you are lost, you will find many opportunities and interests along the new route to your future.
In my first teaching position, I found myself in a second-grade classroom and ultimately thinking, I need to teach an older grade, I move way to quick for this level. The next year I switched to middle school science and math. Much better. Three years in middle school, two years teaching applied sciences at a career tech center, and five years as an academic dean/science teacher provided me with an opportunity to work with students across many different spectrums and help me to realize that if you love what you are doing, connect with the students, and show enthusiasm for the subject you teach, you can energize students and create an interest in learning. Many years later, there are middle and high school students who I am still in touch with and refuse to accept that they are in their late thirties/early forties. They touch base, talk science, ask questions, and make me proud to have been a part of their education. As a pre- and in-service educator now, I am fortunate to work with students who will be middle and high school teachers in the areas of STEM and science. My earlier teaching positions serve as a solid foundation for working with these future classroom teachers. As educators, we readily accept that there are different strategies to meet the needs of students and help them thrive. This applies to educators as well, finding your place by exploring strategies, options, and opportunities allows you to find the place that you can make the greatest impact in your field.
Throughout my experiences, I have also been fortunate to have many great mentors who have been part of the journey. They encouraged, prodded, redirected, and if necessary, lead the way to opportunities that made me a better educator, leader, and collaborator. Leadership is something that you learn by doing, by failing, by watching and by trying. It is actually a collaborative effort to include those near you. Involvement in associations such as the National Science Teaching Association, Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association, the National Science Education Leadership Association have provided great opportunities to do, fail, watch, and try and introduced me to many great mentors, friends, and colleagues who walked with me as new paths were explored. I think the above examples of finding my place, as well as, the opportunity to serve in different leadership roles throughout my teaching career illustrates how the Cheshire cat may have had it backwards. Instead of saying, “If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.” I think that it would be more appropriate to say, if you are willing to take a chance and pursue any road, you may end up in places you never thought possible and find your way.
Professor and Co-Director
MAT in STEM Education
Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania
NSTA Retiring President, 2019-2020
Dr. Christine Anne Royce is currently a professor in the teacher education department and co-director for the MAT in STEM Education program at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. She is also the Retiring President (19-20) for the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA). She finished her term of office as President on May 31, 2019.
Royce has been a passionate educator and dedicated leader in the science education community for more than 25 years. Before moving to the university level, Royce taught at primarily the middle and high school levels teaching both science and math for twelve years; worked as an adjunct faculty member in the education department at the University of Scranton; and served as the academic dean at a high school, where she constructed the master teaching schedule and individual student schedules and designed and coordinated the renovation of three science laboratories.
In 2002, Royce moved on to accept a position as a professor at Shippensburg University. In her current position, Royce—who served three consecutive terms as the chair of the teacher education department—teaches classes in science education, assessment, curricular planning and research design at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and implemented a new online teaching certification program this past fall. She is regularly sought after to serve on university wide search committees and has been the lead faculty member in the development of a graduate certificate in Online Learning and Technology. She co-chairs the Emergent Technology Committee which examines how new, repurposed, and innovative technologies can be used to enhance classroom instruction.
In addition to her work and commitment to NSTA, Royce is extremely active with other state and national organizations and STEM initiatives. She was the PSTA Exchange editor, executive secretary, and twice served as the president of the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association. Royce has also served as the treasurer for the National Science Education Leadership Association, was an NSF panel judge and chair for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching, and served as a STEM-UP PA participant in the STEM-UP Mentoring Program for Women in STEM Fields in Academia.
During her distinguished career, Royce has received a number of awards and honors. Her accomplishments include receiving NSTA’s Fellow Award (2016), Shippensburg University Provost’s Award for Extraordinary Service (2013), Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators’ Teacher Educator of the Year Award (2010), New Jersey Science Teachers Association’s Pettix Award for Science Education (2007), National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ Outstanding Earth Science Teacher – Eastern Region (2003), the Woodrow Wilson National Memorial Fellowship (2000) and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (1997).
Royce earned a B.S. degree in elementary education from Cabrini College, a M.A. degree in curriculum and instruction from Delaware State University, a M.S. degree in school administration and supervision from the University of Scranton, a M.B.A. from Shippensburg University, and an Ed.D. in curriculum, instruction and technology education from Temple University.