Whitney Welch

Lead Instructional Content Specialist

1.     What is your experience writing curriculum? 
I have written curriculum for iCEV for nearly six years. During that time, I have created a range of courses, from Forensic Science to Wildlife Management to Digital Media. I have helped develop courses through the whole process, from the ideation stage, to looking at collections of state standards and breaking down the standards into lessons, to preparing and editing content through the adoption process.

2.     How have your past experiences shaped your passion for creating content?
When I was young, I wanted to be a science writer for Scientific America, so I have always had a passion for teaching people interesting things through writing. I love learning and have a natural curiosity about the world, and I hope my work creating content helps instill that in others.

I spent two years as a graduate teaching assistant for first-year writing. My favorite moments in the classroom were the assignments and activities that required my students to be creative and have fun with one another and learn without realizing they were learning. A lot of the activities and projects I write try to create learning environments where students can be creative and have fun.

3.     What is your favorite lesson or project you’ve worked on? 
I really enjoyed working on the Forensic Science course as a whole. I am a big true crime fan so getting to talk to the experts who are leading discoveries for crime investigations was so cool. DNA Analysis and Forensic Anthropology & Odontology lessons are two of my favorites. This was also the first time I got to go through the difficult writing task of figuring out how to translate advanced scientific information from our experts, who were used to teaching at the Ph.D. level, in a way that could be understandable at the high school level. That was a fun challenge and set me up to take on more challenging scientific courses for iCEV.

One of my favorite activities I developed was a game for a lesson on the importance of wetlands. The entire thing was a game where students thought they were trying to make their wetlands the most productive and economically valuable. However, it was really all a setup because, at the end of the game, a hurricane comes in and destroys anything they have built to emphasize how critical protecting wetlands are to combat flooding. It’s a lesson I would love to see being taught in class because I think the students’ reactions would be hilarious! I don’t think students will remember exactly what was in the slide deck for that lesson for long, but I am pretty sure they will remember the takeaway from that game. I love coming up with activities and projects to help lesson objectives stick with students for a long time.

4.     What excites you about developing STEM content? 
I loved physics in high school, so I’m excited to get to relearn lots of that while writing content. With CTE, so much valuable learning comes from “doing,” and the focus on creating hands-on activities and projects is also exciting. I feel like we will be creating content that will be really valuable for both teachers and students.  I am also excited because I think we are meeting a unique need in STEM content by putting together comprehensive content that can help take some of the burden of lesson planning and searching for teaching resources off of teachers.  

5.     In your opinion, what makes a great lesson? 
Good iCEV lessons will engage students with both the content and the visuals. (I always love customized graphics to go with a lesson.) Additionally, I like having hands-on or fun activities/projects that go a little out of the box. Finally, I think the best lessons give teachers good ideas they can expand on using their own creativity and students’ skills to create memorable moments in the classroom.

6.     What is something you hope teachers and students take away from the content you create? 
I get an endorphin rush from the feeling of things all coming together and making sense of a concept when I’m creating content, so I hope I can share the exhilaration of “this totally clicks now!” with students. For teachers, I hope my content gives them the resources they need to be their best in and out of class.

7.     What’s the best feedback you’ve gotten from a teacher or student about our curriculum?
I had a teacher who told me that she loved iCEV because she was able to spend extra time being creative and innovative while planning a particular day’s lesson because she knew she had reliable content to fall back on for the rest of the week. I love the idea that I am making something teachers can trust and can make teacher’s lives more manageable while also helping them create really impactful things for their students.

8.     What are your favorite TV shows to binge-watch? 
My husband and I have our own tiny fantasy league for each new season of Top Chef and are very competitive about it. Another favorite I can never say no to is Great British Bake-Off because it is very soothing. Finally, I have a young child, so we’ve been starting to check out some more family-friendly content, and I am in love with Bluey (a show about a dog family with an incredible classical music score and really adorable humor).

9.     Which five artists make up your ideal playlist? 
·       Frightened Rabbit
·       The 1975
·       Taylor Swift
·       Taylor Swift
·       Taylor Swift

According to my 2020 Spotify recap, I listened to nothing except Taylor Swift’s folk albums and podcasts.

10.  What is something (non-work related) you are learning about?
Bread making! I have been working on a sourdough starter and learning how to use it. It’s definitely a way to grow patience and resilience.

11.  What is a unique skill or perspective you bring to our STEM team? 
I view myself as the person who is the iCEV expert of the STEM team and aim to help the team translate their incredible knowledge base and unique experiences into content that will be recognizable and usable on the iCEV platform.

12.  Where do you work from? 
Las Vegas, NV

13.  Do you have any furry coworkers?
Moonshine (cat) and Peanut (dog)