Humans of Flagstaff: Marti Canipe

Mayim Bialik and Marti Canipe

NAU Communications sat down with Marti Canipe, an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning and recent competitor on “Jeopardy!,” to get to know her on a more personal level. Read our questions and her answers below.

Why did you want to be on “Jeopardy!”?  

I have enjoyed trivia games and contests for a long time. I started wanting to be on “Jeopardy!” when I was on the Quiz Bowl team in high school and I watched it to “study.” I am someone who loves learning, and I think that “Jeopardy!” is a show that celebrates knowledge and learning.  

What was it like? 

It really was a dream come true. The “Jeopardy!” crew is amazing, and from start to finish they made us all feel welcome and special. I got chills the first time I stood on the stage behind the podium, and “Jeopardy!” is a really fun game to play. I am so glad that I got to be part of the Professors Tournament because in addition to getting to be on “Jeopardy!” I got to meet and hang out with 16 of the most interesting and fun professors from around the country. 

What advice would you give other “Jeopardy!” hopefuls? 

Marti Canipe as a baby sitting in a park
Marti’s love for the outdoors started early.

I would say take the online test and see what happens. In terms of preparing, my advice is to play trivia games, read a lot across different subjects and watch plenty of “Jeopardy!”

Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today. 

Many of my fondest childhood memories involve exploring nature. I grew up in North Carolina, and we had woods and a creek that were behind our house, and I spent a lot of time exploring them. I was always collecting things I found in the woods and trying to catch crayfish in the creek. These experiences led to a love of science and a tendency to wonder about the natural world. This led to a career in science education, where I have tried to share that love of science and wonder with students. Now as a science teacher educator, not only do I want my students to develop that love of science, but I also try to help them learn how to support their future students’ sense of wonder.  

What have you been most proud of recently?  

I was recently awarded grant funding from the National Science Foundation to develop science content courses for the elementary education majors at NAU. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time as part of my efforts to make sure that elementary educators feel prepared and confident in their abilities to teach science. 

Marti Canipe's feet over the Grand Canyon
The view from Marti’s perfect day

What is your favorite way to spend a day off?  

My perfect day would start off with breakfast and coffee at one of the great breakfast spots in Flagstaff. Then I would head to the Grand Canyon, which is my “happy place,” and walk out along the rim trail until I found a quiet spot where I could sit and just be for a while. I might take a good book along with me to read once I find a quiet spot off the trail. 

What are three things on your bucket list and why? 

  1. Visit all seven continents—I love to travel and see other parts of the world. In my view, travel is one of the most educational things you can do. I particularly like visiting national parks and natural areas when I travel. 
  2. Write a children’s science book—I think that books and reading are such an important part of learning. I would like to write one that supports children’s sense of wonder, which is one of the most important things about learning science. 
  3. Live abroad for a little while—I love living in Flagstaff, but I would like to live in another country to experience somewhere else as a resident rather than a tourist. 

 What is your philosophy in life?  

My favorite word is “wonder,” and I think that describes how I like to approach life. I try to approach each day and situation with a sense of wonder. This makes me ask questions about what I observe and try to learn new things whenever I can. 

NAU Communications