Mar 22, 2006

Two Teachers Honored by Seagate for Work in Science Education

MINNEAPOLIS - Long before the recent push to close science and math achievement gaps for students, two Minnesota science teachers were reaching above and beyond to leave no child behind - especially in math and science. Rachel Peterson, from St. Helena Catholic School in Minneapolis, and David Bosma, from Alden, Minnesota's high school, recently were honored with the Seagate Mentor award for their efforts in promoting science education by encouraging and supporting students' hands-on experience outside of the classroom.

Introduced four years ago, the Seagate Mentor award, sponsored by Seagate Technology, provides an annual, statewide recognition for teachers who have mentored student participants in the Minnesota Academy of Science State Fairs. Two awards are presented - one for a teacher with one to 10 years of teaching experience and the second for a teacher with 11 or more years of experience. Seagate Mentor award winners receive a plaque and $1,000, and their respective schools receive a plaque and $1,000 for the science department.

"These awards are distinctive because it is the students who nominate the teachers," said Gary Alexander, program director of the Minnesota Academy of Science. "It shows that these teachers are greatly impacting students' interest in science education. These two teachers, through their devotion to science education, are excellent examples of how to help students get all they can out of school."

For the last two years, Peterson has been mentoring science students at St. Helena Catholic School. This year, as the middle school's only science teacher, she supervised more than 60 projects for the school's science fair. She sent seven first place winners to the regional science fair level, where three of them were selected to compete at state. According to Alexander, it was obvious to the Seagate Mentor award committee that St. Helena has a gem of a science teacher with Peterson.

With Bosma, it's been 12 years of mentoring. His science students at Alden-Conger High School received hands-on attention from a teacher whose passion for teaching science and desire for student's success is profoundly evident to both the students and community. Bosma's work includes mentoring students involved in physical science, chemistry, physics and applied science.

"These two teachers are committed to getting students interested in math and science," said Bob Whitmore, executive vice president of product and process development. "Science can be such an interesting and fun subject, especially when you have teachers like these two who encourage creativity and reinforce skills."

One million entry-level engineers will be needed over the next decade according to the National Academy of Engineering. Last month, in his visit to Minnesota, President Bush emphasized that the United States cannot lead the world in science and technology development unless more emphasis and funds are dedicated to educating young scientists and mathematicians. Getting knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated teachers involved in math and science activities is more important than ever.

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