Mrs. Samantha Danielli
Bachelor of Science from University of Illinois, Master of Education from Marymount University
I was born in Springfield, Illinois. Growing up in a family of twelve allowed me to deepen my understanding of what self-giving love looks like. My father’s work for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and my mother’s work as a school teacher helped influence my interest in what I would study. I attended the Univ. of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. While at the Univ. of Illinois I worked for the campus church, St. John’s, as a sacristan training other students in the ministries of the church, and preparing for Mass in a variety of ways behind the scenes. I also led and participated in several retreats through the Newman Center on campus. The desire to allow my faith and science degree to overlap was possible when I was accepted as a full year volunteer through the Catholic Network Volunteer Service under the Americorp program with the Sisters of Providence in St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana. God led me to this when my father read in a local Catholic newspaper that there was an order of sisters in Indiana that had an organic farm. My father hoped I would be able to get a job as the environmental scientist working on the farm, but God presented a different opportunity with one spot available in the volunteer program. They did not need additional help on the organic farm, but rather I was asked to help at a PreK-5 Catholic school one of the sisters ran in Terre Haute, Indiana. I was provided experience as the environmental educator, an afterschool program coordinator, assisting classes, and helping in the preschool. After completing the year, feeling the need to use my degree specifically, I moved out to Virginia to be near my older sister while looking for a job. I worked for the National Energy Education Development Project for almost four years. The organization develops K-12 science curriculum focused on the forms and sources of energy. My tasks varied from assisting with the curriculum to my title role of Training Coordinator, where I coordinated 200 day workshops yearly for teachers to become trained with the curriculum. I could not escape God’s call of working directly with the children - as I had done at camps, and specifically at a Catholic school in Indiana. I applied to the cohort at Marymount Univ. for my Masters of Education with PK-6 certification. The same year I was accepted with Marymount I applied to Our Lady of Good Counsel. God’s timing is amazing! I joined the staff in 2011 as Elementary Science Lab teacher and third grade aide which is a wonderful melding of my past experience and expertise. I completed my Masters of Education (PK-6 endorsement) in 2013 and is now starting my seventh year at OLGC as science lab instructor and Health and Wellness instructor.
Faith in Action
Working at Our Lady of Good Counsel allows me to naturally integrate my love of our Catholic faith, forming the children, and desire to educate the youth. My love of science and the natural world stems back to when my parents would pile the ten children into the van and drive across the United States to camp at the National Parks, such as the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons, Arches National Park, Yellowstone, and many more. These moments provided a foundation to recognize the natural world is a gift from God. In sixth grade I decided I would pursue a career in the natural sciences when I read through the Genesis creation story with a sense of awe for all of the "good" in God's eyes. A quote from Benedict XVI Pope Emeritus sums up my perspective, “Nature is a book whose history, whose evolution, whose ‘writing’ and meaning, we ‘read’ according to the different approaches of the sciences, while all the time presupposing the foundational presence of the author who has wished to reveal himself therein.”
God reveals himself to me through the excitement of the children at OLGC. A fifth grade student that is excited to break apart an owl pellet to discover the natural food chain shows me that there is a natural order God has laid before us. A fourth grade student that has built an anemometer and shouts for the other classmates to join in his discovery of where the most wind can be found on the school grounds, shows me that we are called to learn each day and share with those around us the truths we discover. A kindergarten student that lets out a shout of joy for the opportunity to take part in the planting process of new life in our classroom reminds me to be in awe of all of God’s creation each day. I am also excited to assist the students in discovering who God is through the world around us – the butterfly, the shape of the clouds, the life cycle of plants and animals, and every microscopic organism. The students help open my eyes to each exciting moment of awe and fascination of the world around us.
We discover God's creation using the scientific concepts of hypothesis, observation, procedure, and drawing conclusions using higher order thinking. Science lab is a wonderful place of discovery and to bring order to the many questions we may have. Science provides an avenue to answer these questions about the workings of the world around us that God has provided for us to use and enjoy. Saint John Paul II spoke to the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, stating “Every scientist, through personal study and research, completes himself and his own humanity ... Scientific research constitutes for you, as it does for many, the way for the personal encounter with truth, and perhaps the privileged place for the encounter itself with God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Science shines forth in all its value as a good capable of motivating our existence, as a great experience of freedom for truth, as a fundamental work of service. Through research each scientist grows as a human being and helps others to do likewise.” The students encounter moments of truth as they inquire how the living and non-living interact. Each day I work at Our Lady of Good Counsel I am excited to see the love God has for each of us through the excited eyes of our children to discover the world around us
Chicken pot pie
Favorite Activity Outside of School
Fun Fact About Me
I have been to Banica, Dominican Republic twice for Mission trips.