Published: April 24, 2023

SophieSophie Friedman grew up a “citizen of the world,” living in places like Japan, England, and Germany with her military family, but it’s her experience as an undergraduate and graduate student at CU Boulder and in her student teaching classroom that have made the greatest impact on her next steps as a teacher. 

Friedman has been an integral part of the CU STEM Education community as an undergraduate Learning Assistant, Learning Assistant Mentor, STEM Education Certificate recipient, and now graduate of the secondary science MA + licensure program, a program that allows students to earn their Master’s degree and teacher licensure in just one year. 

As part of the first cohort of an intensive one-year program, Friedman student taught at Century Middle School. She provides high-quality instruction to middle grade students and teaching STEM for equity and justice. Her caring temperament and sense of humor is uniquely suited to ensuring that all students feel comfortable engaging in the hard work of knowledge construction. Friedman’s mentor teacher has raved about Friedman’s ability to plan and facilitate lessons aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and feels that her experience working with Friedman has helped improve her own practice. Now, Friedman has been name the program’s 2023 outstanding graduate.

Friedman has also been a leader in helping her peers navigate completing an master’s and teaching license at the same time. Not surprisingly, she has already been recruited for many professional opportunities, and the CU Teach faculty look forward to continuing supporting Sophie’s essential work inside and outside of the science classroom. 

In her own words

Please tell us a bit about yourself

Well... I am a military kid so I am from everywhere. The correct term is Third Culture Kid. I was born in Germany, then I lived in Florida, then I lived in Okinawa, Japan, then England, and then back to Okinawa, Japan. I have travelled to at least 30 different countries. I came to the education program because of CU Teach. I have been at CU now as both an undergrad in the Department Environmental Studies and now as a master's student with CU Teach's Master's plus Licensure in Secondary Science program."

What is one of the lessons from your time at CU Boulder that you’ll carry with you into the next chapter?

The greatest experience I have had at CU Boulder is the opportunity to have both a great undergrad/grad school experience and fantastic experience at my student teaching placement - Century Middle School. Being apart of both the CU Boulder and Century communities has made me feel so connected to my future peers but also my students. Without CU Boulder who knows where I would have student taught. Being at Century Middle School has provided me the opportunity to grow as a STEM teacher and learn what it means to be a teacher beyond the content. Alongside, my mentor teacher and leadership students we planned dances, trainings, a Lock-in, fundraisers, and so much more.”

What does graduating from CU Boulder represent for you and/or your community?

It is a huge step in becoming a better teacher. This is a job I have always looked towards and now I am even closer to accomplishing that job.”

What is your best piece of advice for incoming students?

Not every one lesson you teach is going to be great, not everyday is going to be a breeze, but the day you see that lightbulb go off for a student is the day you know what you're doing means something.”

What continues to drive your passion for your work after graduation?

My passion to give students of all backgrounds the ability to learn. Not everyone learns in the same way and I want to give students the chance to prove to people that may have said 'on no, you can't do this' when in reality they just did not have the right learning support. I need to keep being flexible and adaptable to what students need and I need to be comfortable knowing that not every lesson is going to go according to plan.”

Sophie FriedmanCollage of photos of Sophie Friedman