Downs Discovered Love of STEM in Cedar Hill ISD

On her path to law school, Yasmine Downs experienced a serendipitous moment.

While studying for the LSAT, Downs – a Cedar Hill High School Class of 2011 Graduate – began substitute teaching in her former district.

“I realized that I liked teaching more, so I decided to study for my teacher certification, rather than the LSAT,” Downs said.

Downs, now a fourth grade math/science teacher at Bray Elementary, is one 11 finalists for Cedar Hill ISD STEM Teacher of the Year.

Her interest in STEM started when she was a Computer Aide at High Pointe Elementary – the same campus she attended as a scholar in the early 2000s.

“I learned about Robotics and Coding,” Downs said. “STEM is all about not giving up and encouraging each other. I want to engage and prepare my scholars for their potential future careers.”

Downs, now in her third year at Bray, is hoping for a return to High Pointe this summer, when the district retires Bray.

“I’m a Longhorn For Life,” Downs said.

Downs played volleyball at CHHS and graduated in the Top 10 percent of her class, earning a full academic scholarship to Alabama State University, a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) located in Montgomery. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice at ASU.

“I was shocked at first when I received the nomination, but then I reflected over everything I’ve done at STEM over the years at Bray and High Pointe,” Downs said.

The STEM Teacher of the Year will be announced on Thursday, April 20, and it comes with a $10,000 prize – $5,000 for the school and $5,000 for the teacher, personally.

Downs said if she wins $5,000 will go toward the STEM Field Trip Fund for her next campus. She hasn’t thought about what the $5,000 will go toward personally.