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Michaela Oberkfell

Teaching Fellow

Michaela Oberkfell

About

Michaela Oberkfell

Growing up in Charlotte, NC I spent many hours exploring the woods behind my house and this love of exploring led me to attend the Maine Coast Semester (Semester 50) during my junior year of high school. After graduating from Charlotte Country Day School, and before attending college, I took a gap year and volunteered at the Humane Society of Charlotte training dogs and other volunteers.  I also did an immersion and service program for three months in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Peru. After taking Spanish in school for twelve years, I wanted to use and improve what I had learned in the real world.

For my undergraduate studies, I went to Colby College and majored in Biology with a concentration in Biochemistry. I enjoy the outdoors and while at Colby I took as many field biology courses as possible including Vertebrate Natural History, Ecology, Taxonomy of Flowering Plants, Ornithology, Ecology, and Woody Plants. For two summers I did research on the Belgrade lakes analyzing water quality through identification and quantification of algae and cyanobacteria. While at Colby I led a Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip (COOT) for college first years. During my senior year, I designed my own independent study on Acer rubrum (Red Maple) leaf morphology and pigmentation. During this project, I collected and preserved over 1000 leaves from across campus. Pressing plants for nature specimens and making jewelry or art with leaves is what I do in my spare time.

After college I worked as a naturalist at Echo Hill Outdoor School in Maryland with students from 1st to 12th grade.  At Echo Hill, I taught an appreciation of the natural world using place-based experiential learning on the Chesapeake Bay. Following this experience, I moved back to Maine and was a long-term substitute in a 3rd-grade class at Benton Elementary School. The following Spring I was a lab instructor for Introductory Biology at Colby College, my alma mater. My most recent project has been collecting cicada specimens to add to my artwork. 

My time as a student at Chewonki (MCS 50) was the first time I felt like I belonged at school, and truly enjoyed learning, so having the opportunity to grow with the Chewonki Elementary and Middle School program and give that feeling to more students is what I want most. Being a teaching fellow is an opportunity to do a job I am passionate about in a place that I love.

What Brought Me to Chewonki?

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