Two students from the UC Santa Barbara Gevirtz Graduate School of Education — Michelle Leber, M.Ed. ’13 (Teacher Education),and Justine Ophanon, B.S. ’11 (Aquatic Biology), M.Ed. ’13 (Teacher Education) — have been chosen to receive five-year Teaching Fellowships from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. The selected fellows participated in a rigorous screening process. With only 15 percent of the applicant pool being chosen, they represent some of the top talent in the nation.

Born in the Allentown, Pa., area to Joan and Rich Leber, Leber later relocated to North Carolina, where she attended Chapel Hill High School. Prior to enrolling at UCSB, she earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Washington. While conducting neutrino research at UCSB, she decided to pursue teaching as a profession. In the fall, she will begin teaching ninth grade global science and 12th-grade Advanced Placement (AP) physics at Oak Park High School.

Raised in Monterey by Jill Norasate and Visith Ophanon, Ophanon graduated from Monterey High School in 2007. In addition to her master’s degree, she holds a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology from UCSB. In the fall, she will begin teaching Earth Science at Seaside High School.

— Ebony Freeman is a marketing consultant for Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.