A smart, but angry young student who dreamed of becoming a pediatrician; a chemistry major; a Target hourly employee; and a substitute teacher. This was Veronica Wylie’s circuitous path to her high school classroom in Hazelhurst, MS. Along the way, she’s earned three master’s degrees, founded a nonprofit, interned with NASA and is currently collaborating with Harvard to create antiracist science curricula. The motivation behind all of this activity is providing her students opportunities – even if they are 60 feet underwater.
Today we visit with Veronica Wylie, high school science teacher at Wylie is a high school chemistry and physical science teacher in Hazlehurst High School. She designed a Fund for Teachers fellowship to earn a diving certification to complete archaeology and marine life trainings with the organization Diving With a Purpose, a nonprofit that partners with the National Association of Black Scuba Divers on submerged heritage preservation and conservation projects worldwide with a focus on the African Diaspora. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in education leadership and administration at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Her latest of three graduate degrees is a Master of Arts in Teaching chemistry student at Illinois State University. She interned this summer with NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement in Houston and also started collaborating with teams as a Fellow at Harvard’s Antiracist Science Education Project through the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. One of my first questions to her was, “When do you have time to teach?” to which she replied, “I teach whenever I can, wherever I can, about whatever is relevant.” Then I asked her about her work, her students and her fellowship.