Xochitl Garcia is the K-12 education program manager at Science Friday, where she focuses on supporting the inspiring efforts of educators (of all types) to engage students in science, engineering, math, and the arts. She can be seen making a mess with education director Ariel Zych, developing teacher trainings/programs, and planning ways to connect Science Friday media to classrooms. She is excited to introduce the SciFri community and world to the amazing educators in their midst.
After graduating from Occidental College and working with high school students in Los Angeles, Xochitl moved to New York. She taught middle and high school science in the Bronx for over seven years. She worked with students on a variety of projects; some of her favorites include a trick-tip skateboarding video with physics annotations, a photo essay discussing botanical origins and flavor profiles in Mexican food, a group-produced rap song—it goes, “Digestion, this is the breakdown, nutrients are absorbed in the shakedown”—and a very detailed Facebook profile for Oxygen. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Xochitl has led professional developments and conference sessions for teachers on accessible curriculum, student engagement, phenomena-first STEM education, and school design.
According to Xochitl, her father’s green thumb led to her infatuation with plants. In her studies at Lehman College, she looked at the use of herbs among the healers of Mexico. As a Fund For Teachers Fellow, she traveled to Ecuador to interview and observe cacao farmers for an ethnobotanical case study. As a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, she circumnavigated Iceland, where she photographed different plants to create classroom activities that connected geography, ecology, and botany. She is hoping to improve her knowledge of fungi this year.
Xochitl misses the warmth of Texas and California (she grew up in both) during the New York winters, but loves traveling to random parts of New York City to sample foods from almost every region of the world.
Seven innovative science teachers have turned Science Friday stories into lessons you can use in the classroom and at home.