GSK Helps Promote Teacher Leadership in STEM Education

RALEIGH, N.C., (May 10, 2018) – Thanks to a six-figure charitable grant from GSK, five Triangle area educators will receive specialized teacher leadership training to drive innovations in STEM education and help students embrace work-based applications in math and science. The teachers, known as GSK Kenan STEM Fellows, are part of the 2018-19 cohort of Kenan Fellows.

Kenan Fellows are outstanding public school teachers selected through a competitive process to participate in a prestigious one-year fellowship while remaining active in the classroom. During the year, Kenan Fellows collaborate with industry experts to develop curriculum and teaching resources that bring workforce preparedness and cutting-edge research into the hands of students.

“Teachers have an incredible influence on developing the students of today who will become the workforce of tomorrow.  We all rely on great teachers in classrooms across the state to inspire North Carolina students to love and study math and science and ultimately, pursue careers in important STEM-related fields. GSK is delighted to support this great program,” said Marti Skold-Jordan, Manager, US Community Partnerships, GSK.

Starting in June, the teachers will engage in three-week internships in Triangle area businesses to make “real-world” connections to their instruction. They will immerse themselves in the following Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields: environmental science, engineering, high-tech and biomanufacturing and chemical research and development. Pairing educators with researchers and industry experts for a summer internship empowers the teachers to deepen their content knowledge, embrace new technology and more effectively prepare students to build career-ready skills.

“Thanks to the continued level of support from industry leaders such as GSK, we are able to build powerful partnerships between the business, research and education communities in order to spark student interest and excitement in STEM,” said Elaine Franklin, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.

The 2018–19 GSK Kenan STEM Fellows are:

  • Tamara Barabasz, an academically or intellectually gifted (AIG) teacher at Easley Elementary School in Durham Public Schools, will partner with Novozymes on a fellowship project called, “Novozymes Enzymes: From Discovery to Commercialization.” Ms. Barabasz, who has been teaching for 13 years, has her National Board Certification and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.
  • Emily Ericson, an English Language Arts teacher at Northern High School in Durham Public Schools, is a National Board Certified educator who has been teaching for nine years. She holds a M.Ed. in Education from St. Ambrose University. For her fellowship, she will work with the STEM Outreach Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to learn about cutting-edge research at EPA’s Research Triangle Park campus and how this research can be translated into resources that can be used in formal and informal education settings.
  • Nathalie Ludwig, a third-year kindergarten teacher at Washington GT Magnet Elementary School in the Wake County Public School System, will engage in hands-on laboratory research alongside a mentor at LORD Corporation in order to translate her experience into problem-based learning and engaging hands-on student projects.
  • Annah Riedel, a fourth and fifth-grade teacher at The Exploris School who has been teaching for three years, will immerse herself in an innovative, collaborative manufacturing environment at Caterpillar where she will learn about the many facets of Caterpillar from their apprenticeship programs to their machine development center. While there, she will discover the wide range of STEM careers and skills required for success.
  • Crystal Whisenant, a second-grade teacher at Broadway Elementary School in Lee County Schools, has been teaching for two years. She will explore how robotic automation at Mertek Solutions is revolutionizing the manufacturing process and share her experience via a dynamic and engaging curriculum that reflects the insights gained and processes observed in her internship.

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