My name is Vanessa Crocker and I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, TX. I have spent most of my adult life away from Corpus, but I'm very happy to be back in my hometown working as a faculty member at TAMU-CC (Go Islanders!). I have spent many years instructing college freshmen and I believe that your first year is crucial to both self-exploration and building an independent framework for future success. I hope to support, challenge, develop, enlighten, and connect to each student and I welcome the same from you.
Now on to the details of my life, if you're interested. As I mentioned before, I was born here in Corpus Christi, TX. I attended Chula Vista ES, Browne & Baker MS, and Carroll HS. Some of my early interests included soccer, dance, and choir, though I was most passionate about reading. My parents introduced me to science fiction and fantasy novels at an early age and I was hooked. Yes, the truth has been revealed. I am a nerd! And coupled with my very timid and shy nature as a child, one would most often find me with my nose buried in a book. My childhood was also defined by family's annual trek around the United States in our camper. It is through this early exposure to science and nature that my passion for biology and the environment blossomed.
Upon graduating from high school, I attended Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!) and decided to major in Environmental Science. I worked at the challenge course and rock climbing wall, and spent my spare time running the outdoor adventure club. I organized and led trips to camp, hike, kayak, spelunk, rock climb, mountain bike, and more, all in an effort to foster an appreciation for the great outdoors in my fellow students. College was an amazing time in my life, and I'm looking forward to getting to know your passions and relive some of that first-year excitement!
After college graduation, I felt pulled to continue my education and get more research experience. I became a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!) in Richmond, VA. My first formal teaching experiences were here where I taught biology laboratories for freshman biology majors and non-majors. I discovered my love for teaching, especially with small class sizes. I also joined the insect ecology lab and conducted research on parasitoid wasps with respect to local adaptation hypotheses. These were my most challenging years up to that time, but were ultimately the most rewarding. Weird how that always seems to work, huh? Upon graduating with my Master's degree in biology, I continued on my teaching path after leaving VCU and joined the biology team at Vanderbilt University (Go Commodores!). I taught biology laboratories for freshmen students and worked as a laboratory technician. I spent a very fun two years here, but then took a break in my professional career... and now to turn to the more personal side of my life.
As in all things, life happens. In my case, I met a boy. To make a long story short: we met, we married, we had twins. I took a "break" from work to raise my children at home. I am happily returning in my full capacity to the work force last year. Patrick, my husband, recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, and we are spending another year living apart-together with him in San Antonio and the kids and I here in Corpus until he gets out of the military next year. My kids are starting First Grade at Schanen Elementary this year! And that about sums it up.