Edwin Yoo

Codman Academy Charter Public School, Dorchester MA

Earn Rescue Diver Certification and complete Divemaster training in Honduras while conducting field research on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and at the Whaleshark & Oceanic Research Center to develop culturally-responsive learning based on theoretical chemical and biological principles involved with diving and offer students "Discover SCUBA" classes at the community's YMCA pool.

Where I've Been

  • Utila, Honduras

My Fellowship in Images

An arrow crab living inside a filter-feeding sponge and represents a potentially mutualistic symbiotic relationship between the two organisms. The crab benefits by having shelter from predators and rids the sponge of parasites.
Seahorses are incredibly beautiful fish that is hard to see while diving due to their cryptic camouflage. Surprisingly this seahorse lived under the dock right by the dive shop.
The waters off the coast of Utila, Honduras are protected marine area and the beautiful morphology and color of the symbiotic relationship between coral and algae inspired my imagination and scientific curiosity.
The colorful and dramatic patterns of the Flamingo Tongue snail are actually the soft mantle of the snail's body. The actual shell is plain colored with no patterns at all. I wonder what wonderful ideas will come from my students seeing this image?
A photo on one of my last Deep Speciality dives exploring a shipwreck at 32m. While there is greater risk due to faster buildup of nitrogen in tissues, proper training and precautions allow you to safely explore greater depths.
In contrast to many organisms, this Queen Angelfish makes no attempt to hide. What selection pressures would favor such a garish display of color?

Your Personal and Professional Growth

How have your knowledge, skills and capabilities grown?

My background in coral reef ecosystems and the physiology of scuba diving have grown tremendously during my FFT Internship. I can now anchor my lessons in real life experiences I had during my Divemaster training in Utila, Honduras. I am now qualified to lead Skin Diver Classes for students looking to expand their capabilities in calm ocean waters. I am also a certified medic trained to deal with First Aid emergencies and CPR which have direct correlations to my AP Biology course.

As a result, in what ways will your instructional practice change?

My curriculum will now have an emphasis on environmentalism as a major theme that connects across the academic standards of my biology courses in Grade 9 and 12. While my students will learn about the negative impact of invasive species, climate change, and pollution, I will also have them study the collaboration between the businesses, research groups, and the Utila dive community in the conservation of the beautiful barrier reefs that protect their homes.

What is the greatest personal accomplishment of your fellowship?

The most challenging moment of the internship was successfully completing the Stress Test where I shared a single air source with my partner while exchanging all of our equipment underwater. This experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone and shifted my perspective of scuba diving away from a "recreational" sport to a realization that scuba is a transformational experience with great responsibility in taking care of my students.

Impact on Your Classroom, School and Community

How will your experiences positively impact student learning in new ways?

I can now enhance my biology lessons with my personal experiences studying diving and observing the Meso-American Barrier reef and incorporate these stories into my coursework. My knowledge on the physiology of diving and Rescue Diving (CPR/first aid) are now fundamental skills that link curriculum to "real world" issues that can help them in a crisis. I am now qualified to teach skin diving to my school community and look forward to offering these Wellness classes at our YMCA.

What are your plans for working collaboratively with colleagues?

I hope to collaborate with Math teachers for cardiovascular student run labs using some of the First Aid/CPR measures and the Wellness Director and Dean of Enrichment in helping coordinate a First Aid course for all seniors attending our Leadership Summit in the winter. I also hope to lead a campaign for teachers to commit to using reusable dishware and cups in order to reduce our reliance on disposable plastic.

Imagining the Future

How do you envision celebrating of your students’ new learning?

Capstone research projects regarding cardiovascular system will be presented at the end of the Trimester in our Black Box community space for the AP Biology Class and Food Web research projects motivated by MesoAmerican Reefs will be presented in the classroom for Biology 9 Course.

Are there issues or challenges in your school, community or the greater world about which you and your students might try to make a difference?

Motivated by the use of metal straws in Utila Honduras and Beach Cleanups at Utila Dive Center, I plan on leading campus wide awareness projects for small changes in personal choices that can collectively have positive impact on the environment. We hope to run a parallel session for teachers to commit to using re-usable mugs/thermoses instead of disposable cups for their coffee/tea they drink each day.

How would you describe to a friend or a grant funder the most fundamental ways in which your fellowship has changed your personal and/or professional perspective?

My personal experience in Utila has opened my eyes in terms of how my classroom content can be directly connected with the lives of my students by changing my personal choices in terms of responsibility towards issues of environmentalism. Beyond that, I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the physiology of diving and coral reef that will now enhance my classwork. I have also developed professional relationships with biologists in Utila who I will return to in the future.