counter
Biology

The MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship is a four-year program that rewards outstanding experienced public secondary school mathematics and science teachers. MƒA Master Teachers demonstrate strong content knowledge; they are recognized as leaders in their schools and beyond; they serve as mentors for beginning teachers; they are models for their colleagues; and they remind each of us about our own inspiring teachers. Representing a range of seniority, MƒA Master Teachers have worked from four years in the classroom to twenty plus years. MƒA Master Teachers form a close community of professionals united in their passionate enthusiasm for both mathematics and science and for their work as teachers of mathematics and science. They actively participate in professional development and mentoring within the MƒA corps.

Dr. Cyntra Bernardo: MfA Master Teacher Fellow, 2018-Present:
Dr. Bernardo earned her BS in Biology and Chemistry from St. Francis College, her MS in Molecular Biology from Long Island University and her PhD in Science Education from Columbia University.  She conducted research on creating a culturally relevant science curriculum to enhance student motivation in urban high schools.  During her tenure in the Department of Education (DOE), she previously served as the team leader of the science department, co-lead professional development sessions, mentored students to participate in the Science Genius project, trained in the Next Generation Science Standards, and served as a Judge in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF).  She has also qualified as a Lead Teacher in the DOE.  Dr. Bernardo has taught several different courses in the biological sciences including Regents Living Environment and Genetics, AP Psychology as well as Chemistry.  She adjuncts at the City University of New York, where she conducts lectures and labs in undergraduate biology.  As a fellow in the MfA program, Dr. Bernardo will continue to develop her pedagogical expertise in the science field, expanding her knowledge to create new techniques for sparking student interest in STEM.


Mr. Umang Desai
(Master Teacher Fellow, 2015 - Present)
Mr. Desai received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Philosophy from Union College in Schenectady, NY.  He has taught Living Environment, Chemistry, Earth Science, Health, Anatomy & Physiology and AP Biology over the course of his 15 year career in the New York City Department of Education.  He has been qualified for both the Peer Collaborative Teacher and Master Teacher roles within the Department of Education and is passionate about student learning and engagement through science content. While in the MfA program he aspires to facilitate courses on CRISPR gene editing technology as well as Epigenetics


Dr. Elisa Margarita (MFA Master Teacher, 2013 - Present)

Dr. Margarita worked as a chiropractor for 10 years before she began teaching for the NYC DOE in 2002. Margarita was selected to be part of the team of teachers from ten small learning communities in 2008 to collaborate on curriculum writing under the guidance of Understanding by Design expert and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development facilitator, Janie Smith. Dr. Margarita was a member of the Math and Science Partnership in NYC from 2006-2007, designed to increase student achievement through teacher professional development.  Prior to MSP in NYC, Dr. Margarita worked for CUNY at the Discovery Institute of Staten Island, 2003-2005, designing curriculum through a discovery approach. Dr. Margarita participated in the Biology teacher training by Cornell scientists-as well as science teacher professional development with Project STIR -Science Teachers in Industry & Research, 2002-2003. Dr. Margarita is currently facilitating a Professional Learning Team at MfA, Field-Based Science Inquiry-Field-Based Science Inquiry: this team investigates and shares ways to capitalize on New York City’s rich natural environment for exploring topics in ecology, marine science, biology, chemistry and even physics.  Dr. Margarita is a core member and educational consultant to the Eastern Queens Community Composters (EQCC). Dr. Margarita became a Master Composter through the Queen’s Botanical Garden in 2006 with hopes of inspiring NYC students to bring sustainability into their schools and communities. 



Dr. Risa Parlo (Master Teacher Fellow, 2013 - Present)

Dr. Parlo earned her PhD in biochemistry from New York University researching the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in cancer vs normal liver tissue. She has been teaching since 2002.  Dr. Parlo has taught Anatomy & Physiology and Regents Chemistry at Brooklyn Technical High School since 2006, and has been teaching Anatomy & Physiology at CUNY since 2005. Dr. Parlo has written the anatomy curriculum including dissection exercises and other classroom activities.  She has written and received many Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation faculty grants for classroom equipment and supplies.  As a Master Teacher Fellow, she facilitated a mini-course  "Dissection Based Anatomy." Dr. Parlo is a mentor for the Brooklyn Tech Weston Scholar Program as well as a mentor for two teams of students participating in the Urban Barcode Project (UBP), genetics-based research project.



Dr. Stephanie Tzall (Master Teacher Fellow, 2013 - Present)

Dr. Tzall received her PhD in genetics from New York University after which she researched human genetic diseases. Since 1997, Dr. Tzall has taught Genetics at Brooklyn Technical High School and has written the Genetics curriculum including laboratory exercises.  She co-wrote and received a NYC City Council grant for construction of the genetics classroom/laboratory as well as several Lotos Foundation grants for supplies.  She has also written and received several Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation faculty grants for laboratory equipment.  As a Master Teacher Fellow, she has co-facilitated the PLT "Statistics in the Science Classroom."  and she is a Fellow in the Academy for Teachers.  Dr. Tzall is a mentor for student research at the Urban Barcode Project (UBP), a New York City-wide biology research competition and is a mentor in the Brooklyn Tech Weston Scholar Program, a research program.  She is the advisor for Dr. Tech Science Magazine, a student-led club. 



Ms. Caitlin Wockenfuss (Master Teacher Fellow, 2015 - Present)

Mrs. Wockenfuss is a proud graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, where she studied Biology with a Vertebrate Physiology focus.  She is in her ninth school year at Brooklyn Tech, where she has taught Living Environment, Chemistry, and Anatomy & Physiology.  In addition, she coaches the nationally ranked cheerleading team, PSAL Stunt team, and choreographs the Spring Musical.  While in the MfA program she hopes to lead seminars that promote the use of app technology in the science classroom (such as virtual reality tours of the human body) as well as collaborate with Dr. Risa Parlo presenting dissection-based anatomy.