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Boardman pianist/scholar follows family to teaching career

By Harold Gwin

Sunday, June 22, 2008

By Harold Gwin

BOARDMAN — Alexandra Fuentes had a choice — pursue a career in piano performance or become a teacher.

Her true calling appears to be in teaching, something of a family tradition. She is one of only 33 people from across the nation to be awarded fellowships from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.

The fellowships are renewable for up to five years and worth up to $150,000.

The foundation is a national advocate for improving the quality of science and mathematics teaching.

Fuentes, who graduated this spring from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in biological science and an honors bachelor’s degree in economics, will attend Harvard University for her teaching degree. She anticipates a May 2009 graduation.

Her goal is to teach high school biology, and she eventually wants to work in the field of education policy.

She is an accomplished pianist and considered attending a music conservatory to major in piano performance before deciding to pursue science.

“I want to teach biology in low-performing high schools where I can help young people make the transition into higher education and the workforce,” Fuentes said, noting that she would prefer to teach in Mississippi.

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