Ten middle school science teachers from across the United States were selected to participate in the National STEM Scholar Program this month, a prestigious professional development program that provides advanced STEM training, project funding and national network building for science teachers motivating students at the tipping point of life-long science interest – middle school.
A partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation (NSCF) and The Gatton Academy of Science and Mathematics at Western Kentucky University (WKU), the National STEM Scholar Program was launched in 2015 to inspire the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pioneers nationwide. Research shows that children in middle school who become excited about science are the ones who will pursue STEM courses in high school and major in STEM subjects at the technical and college level.
“We believe focusing our education efforts and resources on reaching the particularly influential middle school teacher will bear fruit now and far into the future,” said Paula Grisanti, CEO of the National Stem Cell Foundation.
In addition to a week of advanced STEM training at The Gatton Academy at WKU, Scholars receive a laptop/tablet to facilitate ongoing collaboration, a generous stipend for technology and supplies to implement a classroom Challenge Project, and sponsored attendance at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Annual Meeting the following spring. Scholars also spend a day with a national or international thought leader in STEM education provided by the Mary Nixon STEM Scholar Speaker Series. This year’s speaker, Dr. John Medina, is a developmental molecular biologist, researcher, professor, and author of ten books, including New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, celebrated as the standard handbook for understanding the brain and optimizing its performance.
The 2019 National STEM Scholar class was selected from 120 applicants in 40 states:
- Allison Baas: Laramie, WY – Laramie Middle School
- James Brown: Albany, NY – Sand Creek Middle School
- Paula Carlson: Tripoli, IA – Tripoli Community School District
- Paige Isner: Alpharetta, GA – DeSana Middle School
- Julie Marsteller: Potomac, MD – Herbert Hoover Middle School
- Ecil Miller: Bowling Green, KY – Drakes Creek Middle School
- Holly Miller: Fishers, IN – Riverside Intermediate School
- Mike O’Connell: Chester, SD – Chester Area School
- Laura Seaver Maley: Old Orchard Beach, ME – Loranger Memorial School
- Jennifer Smith: Monticello, IL – Monticello Middle School
“What an honor it is to work with the ten National STEM Scholars and to partner with the National Stem Cell Foundation each summer,” remarked Julia Link Roberts, Executive Director of The Gatton Academy and the Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies at WKU.