A teacher at heart

MU’s STEM Cubs program is preparing elementary education major Lucy Barber for a future in teaching.

lucy barber headshot

Nov. 29, 2023

Lucy Barber stepped onto the University of Missouri’s campus for the first time as an eighth grader and immediately knew it was where she was meant to be.

When it came time to begin her college search, Barber looked into MU’s offerings and degree programs. An official campus tour reaffirmed that Mizzou was where Barber wanted to be. 

Now a senior studying elementary education, Barber knows she made the right decision.

“I felt like I was at home and that I belonged here,” Barber said. 

For Barber, learning never stops. As a student in the College of Education and Human Development, she wanted to expand her horizons. So, when she heard about the STEM Cubs program, she was all in. 

STEM Cubs is a collaboration between the Office of Academic Access and Leadership Development within the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Engineering. The program teaches STEM concepts to Columbia-area elementary and middle school students. This past summer, Barber was an instructor.

“I taught students about sound vibrations and how sounds travel, the weather and how water and air come together, how to care for plants to help them grow and the five senses,” Barber said.

Barber enjoyed seeing the students get excited about science outside of the classroom while also getting the opportunity to make connections across campus.

“I appreciate the insight STEM Cubs has given me to learn about the work that is going on around our campus,” Barber said.

In education, Barber has seen firsthand what a welcoming classroom should look like and how important a teacher’s role is in ensuring all students feel seen.

“I think that the IDE component just shows that we are welcoming,” Barber said. “We're not just here for the people who are smart or loud, but we are speaking up for the voices that are not always heard.”

Barber’s volunteer work has shown her the importance of transforming challenges into courage and determination. Through this, she has learned how to look through the lens of someone else and use that perspective to better support students. 

“Each background is different, and we always talk about how students are all going to come from all walks of life,” Barber said. “My work at Mizzou has taught me how to be supportive, welcoming, open and how to be an ally.”

Read more from the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

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