Department of Science Education

2017-18 Student Spotlight

Michael Barbaccia

Michael Barbaccia is a third-year transfer student who is studying to become a biology teacher at the Department of Science Education at CSU Chico. Michael comes from a family of educators who inspired him to consider pursuing a career in education.

Michael’s grandpa, David Davini is an alumni of CSU Chico, and started his career as a high school business teacher and retired as the Assistant Superintendent of Sutter County School and Tri-County ROP Director.  Michael’s mother, Debbie Barbaccia, served their hometown community by teaching elementary education.  Because of these people, and other outstanding figures involved in his education, Michael was presented with numerous opportunities to work with students, prepare materials, and experience the life of an educator.  Michael always seemed to have a natural gift and ease when he was working with students to motivate, inspire, and instruct them.

It was during high school that Michael discovered his passion for science.  Michael’s curiosity was sparked in an AP Biology class, and his wonder for this fascinating world grew.  He always knew he wanted to be a teacher, but now he knew exactly what he wanted to teach.  After graduating high school, Michael began his college career taking classes at Yuba Community College. While there Michael earned his Associates Degree in Natural Science and Mathematics, which included taking classes such as Earth Science, Geology, and Biology.  During this time he became acquainted with many of his science professors, and each one encouraged him to continue on his path to becoming a science teacher. 

There were two college experiences that solidified Michael’s determination and desire to pursue a career in education.  First, after finishing his Biology class at the beginning of his sophomore year, Michael’s professor recommended him as a Biology Tutor in the college.  This was the perfect experience for Michael because he discovered how incredibly rewarding teaching can be since he was able to help students understand fundamental principles needed for them to be successful in their biology class.  The second opportunity which had an important impact on Michael’s career choice was when a local junior high school asked him to be a track and field coach.  Michael took on this new challenge with enthusiasm, and as a former track athlete himself, knew how to motivate and inspire the junior high students to be successful athletes.  As a result, two of his long jumpers made it all the way to a first place at their finals.

Michael is now excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead of him at CSU Chico. Michael plans to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Science Education and then continue toward earning a Master’s degree in Administration, as well as his teaching credential. Educators shape the future and Michael is looking forward to a richly rewarding career.