Education doctoral student recognized for mentoring efforts

NatalieKingNatalie King, a doctoral student in UF’s curriculum, teaching and teacher education program, is a recipient of the 2013 Graduate Student Mentoring Award given by UF’s I-Cubed program. 

King previously was a biology and chemistry teacher at Gainesville’s Eastside High School and an instructor for the UF College of Medicine’s Health Care Summer Institute. 

I-Cubed, which stands for Innovation through Institutional Integration, is a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation to foster integration of all student-based research and training programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Their Graduate Student Mentoring Award recognizes graduate students who take time to help others succeed in their undergraduate or graduate studies or in K-12 classrooms. The award comes with a $500 cash stipend. 

“Natalie King exemplifies the true relationship that exists between a mentor and a mentee,” wrote Rose Pringle, an associate professor in science education, in her recommendation of King. Pringle is King’s faculty adviser. “The students in the Alachua County community are benefiting from her passion and her desire to have them succeed academically, pursue college aspirations and become engaged in STEM.” 

King’s passion for mentoring is evident in her experience over the years as a mentor for students of all ages. She first began mentoring for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Alachua County seven years ago. She has also designed a mentoring project for underrepresented middle school girls in the local Emerging Young Leaders program, as well as a curriculum for a summer enrichment program for K-12 students in Alachua County. 

“I had great role models and mentors growing up, so I made it my duty to personally mentor students in addition to creating mentoring programs involving the community,” King said. 

As a high school teacher, King encouraged her students to pursue college degrees and careers in science. Now, she mentors pre-service students during their practicum in the College of Education. 

King has been recognized several times for her mentoring, academics and scholarship. At UF, she is a Florida Education Fund McKnight Doctoral Fellow and a Graduate School Fellow. She also received a UF Presidential Service Award earlier this year.