Regional Meetings Committee Report, Fall 2017

The Regional Meetings Committee (RMC) is charged by the Division to:

  1. Provide oversight of the ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awards, which includes the development and maintenance of Award Guidelines, participation in the selection and presentation of the Region Awards,
  2. Insure that a Chemical Education Program is part of each Regional Meeting, and
  3. Promote the purpose and work of the ACS Division of Chemical Education.

RMC is pleased to outline in this NEWSLETTER Report recent efforts to address its charge.

  1. ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awards:
  • 2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awardees for Excellence in High School Teaching, VOLUME 1:

Eight of the ten ACS Regions will hold meetings in 2017 providing opportunities to recognize and reward excellence in the teaching of high school chemistry.  RMC is pleased to report on the following five region Awards presented in Spring/Summer 2017. 

The 48th ACS Central Regional Meeting June 6-10, 2017 Dearborn, MI
The winner of the 2017 Division of Chemical Education Central Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching is Jamie Beninga from The Roeper School in Birmingham, MI.

Jamie Beninga has been a chemistry teacher for 16 years, teaching Intro and AP Chemistry, as well as electives like Organic Chemistry, Forensic Science, and the Science of Food and Cooking. He currently teaches at The Roeper School in Birmingham, MI. He has a B.S. in Chemistry (Honors) and a Masters in Teaching from Wayne State University. Jamie was a former co-chair of the AP Chemistry Test Development Committee, served on the Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee, worked as a reader for the AP Chemistry exam grading, and continues to write items for the exams. He has presented for the Flinn Scientific Foundation Summer Chemistry Workshops and eLearning series, and he currently leads training workshops for AP Chemistry teachers. He has presented at numerous conferences, including NSTA, ChemEd, and the AP Annual Conference; additionally, he has been published in the Journal of Chemical Education. He received the Teacher of Promise award from the Michigan Science Teachers Association in 2004. Outside of teaching chemistry, Jamie is a foodie and avid cook, and he worked on recipe development and food styling for the VizChef app.

The 45th ACS Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting June 4-6, 2017, Hershey, PA
The winner of the 2017 Division of Chemical Education Middle Atlantic Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Catherine Zavacki from Hillsborough High School in Hillsborough, NJ.

Cathy Zavacki has been a Chemistry teacher at Hillsborough High School in Hillsborough, NJ since 2000. She has her undergraduate degree from Bloomsburg University, a Master’s degree in education through the Regional Training Center, Gratz College and over 60 post-masters graduate credits. Cathy is also a graduate instructor for the Regional Training Center instructing courses on both Motivation and Kinesthetic learning. In 2016, Cathy was recognized as the Chemistry Teacher of the Year for the Princeton and Trenton sections of the ACS.

Cathy’s focus as a teacher is on reaching students at all levels of learning and using novel teaching techniques to do so. She is an innovative teacher that is passionate about working with struggling learners. She works collaboratively with her special education co-teacher to ensure success for all of their students in the classroom. Cathy is an advocate of Kinesthetic learning and shares her expertise in Kinesthetic learning by co-presenting at the New Jersey Science Teacher’s Conference (2015) and most recently presented at the Kentucky Science Teacher’s Association Conference (2016). This summer she will be co-presenting two workshops on Kinesthetic Chemistry and Chemistry for the Struggling Learner at ChemEd17 at the University of South Dakota.

Cathy’s principal stated, “It can be easy to be an Advanced Placement or honors teacher, but it is a true gift to be able to teach all levels, including special education students, with the same adeptness and enthusiasm. Mrs. Zavacki has always managed to find a way to appeal to her students bring them to be excited and willing participants in the scientific inquiry that occurs in her classroom.”

The 45th ACS Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting June 4-6, 2017, Hershey, PA
The winner of the 2017 Division of Chemical Education Northeast Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Maggie H. Estlinbaum from Liverpool High School in Liverpool, NY.

Maggie Estlinbaum earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Colorado College in 2000. After working for an environmental organization for a couple of years, Maggie’s interest turned to teaching. Thus in 2006 she earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from the State University of New York at Cortland.
It was in 2006 that Maggie started her teaching career at Jordan-Elbridge High School in Jordan, NY. From 2006 until 2015 she taught in the Syracuse University Project Advance Chemistry program, as well as teaching AP Chemistry, Regents Chemistry, and General Chemistry. Having been recognized for her leadership skills, she served a number of years as the Science Department Chair and Team Leader.

In 2015 Maggie moved to Liverpool High School in Liverpool, NY. There she continues as a Master Teacher for STEM, a recognition accorded by the State of New York to Ms. Estlinbaum since 2013. Maggie has rounded out her excellent contributions in the teaching and administration of chemistry by extramural involvement in the teaching profession. Of the many professional involvements, in 2017 alone she has contributed to scholarly presentations with the titles of “Differentiating Instruction in the High School Chemistry Classroom”, “Getting Started in the High School Chemistry Lab: A Hands-On Workshop for New and Pre-Service Chemistry Teachers”, and “Developing Collaborations between Math and Science through a Sustainability Curriculum”.

Ms. Estlinbaum has been active in many volunteer activities; it is fitting that many of these are under the mantle of the American Chemical Society (ACS), with the award being sponsored by the chemists’ professional organization. Maggie serves as Liverpool High School’s ACS ChemClub Advisor, as she had been at Jordan-Elbridge since 2013. Two other contributions of note are her 10-year tenure as Science Olympiad Advisor, and her volunteer work as an ACS Science Coach.

The 72nd ACS Northwest Regional Meeting June 25-28, 2017, Corvallis, OR
The winner of the 2017 Division of Chemical Education Glenn & Jane Crosby Northwest Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Patty Weston from Mercer Island High School in Mercer Island, WA.

Patricia (Patty) Weston has worked as a teacher of Earth Science, chemistry, physics and biology at the K-12 level for over a decade, and has also taught a course in geomorphology at Highline Community College.

Patty is a Northwest native, having graduated from Bellevue High School, and attended Carleton College, earning a BA in geology. She has also earned a Master's of Science in geology at UCLA, studying the thermochemistry of vein formation in deep ocean rocks from the East Pacific Rise and Oman. And ALSO a Masters in Teaching from Seattle University - her path to teaching high school is an interesting one.

Patty is a licensed geologist, who has worked for environmental firms in the Puget Sound area as a project geologist and project manager on environmental cleanup, crafting Environmental Impact Statements for nationwide energy projects and timber sales. Patty went on to work at the US Geological Survey as a field assistant and laboratory technician, on projects including geochemical interpretation and mapping of Crater Lake with Charles Bacon, geochemistry and mapping of deposits from explosive eruptions in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado with Peter Lipman; and geochemistry and volcanology of Mt. Baker with Wes Hildreth.

Patty has worked in the Mercer Island School District as a high school science teacher since 2009. She has taught chemistry, earth science, and physics from introductory to college-level courses. Vicki Puckett, her principal a Mercer Island High School says, “Patty Weston is an amazing teacher! She is very relational with her students, who are highly motivated to do their best in chemistry. In addition, Patty is a strong collaborative teacher who works with her colleagues to improve the chemistry curriculum.”

The 42nd ACS Great Lakes Regional Meeting June 27-30, 2017, Fargo, ND
The winner of the 2017 Division of Chemical Education Great Lakes Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Sherri Rukes from Libertyville High School in Libertyville, IL.

Sherri Conn Rukes started her career at Wheaton Warrenville South High School and has been a member of the science department of Libertyville High School for over 20 years.  She has been teaching various levels of chemistry and physics. While Sherri loves teaching chemistry, her passion is to educate. Sherri spends weekends, evenings, and summers by volunteering in outreach programs for elementary and middle school age children, as well as in professional development for teachers.  She has gone around the country giving presentations at various state and national conferences, including NSTA conferences, iSTEM, STAYNS, STEM conferences, and ACS meetings. In 2007, Sherri became a polymer ambassador, and in 2009, the chairperson for the group.  At the same time, she was selected as a Master Teacher for ASM Materials Science Teachers Camp Program. In these roles, Sherri travels to various academic institutions across the U.S. during the summer to teach week-long, professional development programs for high school science teachers. Sherri has also done research at Northwestern University and the Chicago Art Institute.  Her work on George Seurat’s artwork and solid oxide fuel cells has been published.  Sherri was named a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching- Illinois State Finalist in 2015, and in 2016, she was elected as the High School Ambassador for AACT (American Association of Chemistry Teachers) and a Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction in Illinois. In addition, Sherri is the High School Director – Physical Science for ISTA (Illinois State Science Teachers Association).  Just this past May, Sherri was elected as the AACT President.

  • Finalists for the Spring 2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Region Awards for Excellence in High School Teaching:

In 2014 RMC began the practice of using the CHED Newsletter to recognize all nominees for the Region Award for Excellence in High School Teachingand the schools at which they teach.  In the tables below we list each Region Award, the 2017 Recipient, and all those whose complete nomination portfolios came before the Region Awards Committees. 

2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Central Region
Award for Excellence in High School Teaching

AWARDEE

Jamie Beninga
The Roeper School
Birmingham, MI 48009

FINALISTS

Kathryn Blakenship
Highlands High School
Fort Thomas, KY 41075

Dr. David Lineman
Hickory High School
Hermitage, PA 16148

Terese Mortemore
Maumee High School
Maumee, OH 43437

 

2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Middle Atlantic Region
Award for Excellence in High School Teaching

AWARDEE

Catherine Zavacki
Hillsborough High School
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

FINALISTS

Claudia Angle
Bridgeton High School
Bridgeton, NJ 08302

Karolina Fraczkowska
Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart
Princeton, NJ 08540

2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Northeast Region
Award for Excellence in High School Teaching

AWARDEE

Maggie Estlinbaum
Liverpool High School
Liverpool, NY 13090

FINALISTS

Judith Ashworth
Manchester Memorial HS
Manchester, NH 03103

Deborah Day
Amity Regional HS
Woodbridge, CT 06525

Amy Matts
Spackenville High School
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

 

2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Glenn and Jane Crosby Northwest Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching

AWARDEE

Patty Weston
Mercer Island High School
Mercer Island, WA 98040

FINALISTS

Brian Butcher
Jesuit High School
Portland, OR 97225

Lee K. Jones
Dallas High School
Dallas, OR 97338

2017 ACS Division of Chemical Education Great Lakes Region
Award for Excellence in High School Teaching

AWARDEE

Sherri Rukes
Libertyville High School
Libertyville, IL 60048

FINALISTS

Patric Meloy
Robert M. La Follette High School
Madison, WI 53716

David Schultz
Davies High School
Fargo, ND 58104

 

2. Chemical Education Programming at Regional Meetings:
RMC continues to work with organizing committees for Regional Meetings early on in the planning process to not only encourage Chemical Education programming but to also volunteer to organize symposia, general sessions, or poster sessions.  Recent efforts have led to additional programming at CERM-2017, NORM-2017, and MARM-2017. Attention is now directed toward expansion of the Chemical Education programming at the regional meetings planned for 2018.
3Promotion of ACS Division of Chemical Education through Regional Meetings:
RMC continues its joint project with the New Members Committee involving the design, preparation, and display of a poster that describes, using text and images, the mission and activities of the Division of Chemical Education.  The poster is displayed by the DivCHED Representative, at each of the Regional Meetings, in a formal poster session and/or in the Registration area.  The poster serves as a device to disseminate information about Division and to recruit new members to the Division. The new poster for 2017 includes new text and images highlighting Division activities, resources, and ways for members to become involved.

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