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Emily McKernan

Unit development to study antibiotic resistance using compound light microscopes

2017 STEM Scholar
Brushton, NY Brushton-Moira Central School

Emily’s Big Idea: Inspired by one of her student’s science fair projects, Emily created a module investigating the myriad of bacteria we encounter every day. Using high-powered microscopes, Emily and her class learned to identify different types of bacteria; learned, understood and practiced bacterial culture techniques; and understood the reasons for antibiotic use and the dangers of antibiotic resistance. Additionally, students gained invaluable experience operating scientific equipment. This experience helped instill confidence and competence in students when they operated this equipment in higher-level science classes.

Interesting Facts: “I live in northern New York. Think Canada and you are close – I can see the lights of Cornwall and sometimes Montreal from my house. I teach grade 5/6 science in a small, rural, Title 1 school. Before my teaching career, my husband and I owned and operated a 120-cow dairy farm.”

In her own words "It takes practice and usage for students to become comfortable and competent with scientific equipment, and then science no longer is 'hard' but interesting and engaging."
On being a 2017 STEM Scholar: “Even if you come away from the NSTA conference with just a handful of ideas or things that you can bring back to the classroom, that’s still more than I arrived with.”