Science teachers honored with a banquet

A second annual “Honoring the Teachers” banquet was held recently at Grambling State University. The first banquet was held at La TECH on Sept. 20, 2007. The 18 teachers to participate in the Polymers, Plastics, and Recycling workshop were recognized for their achievement. The teachers who were honored for participating in the SHELL Workshop on July 22, 2008, were Senchal Davis-Gasaway, Grambling Middle Magnet; Rhonda Lee, Jonesboro Hodge High; Benjamin M. Miles, Arcadia High; Augustine Moore, Choudrant Elem.; Jakeitha Prejean, Gibsland-Coleman High; Bobby Benson and DeWanda Hamler, Carroll Junior High; Wendy Dobbins, Glen Guin and Ruby Musgrow Minden High; Alton Dozier, Swayze Elem.; Nyoka Freeman and Patricia Schneider, Carroll High; Shanna Martin and Diane Newton, Red River; Velma Mosley, Red River Jr. High; Evelyn Scott, Bernice High; and Oretha Whitley, Barkdull Faulk.

Prejean said that she felt highly honored, and the program was very encouraging “because sometimes teachers get overlooked.” She said the summer program was very interesting and what she learned is applicable in the classroom.

Among the speakers were GSU’s Dr. Robert Dixon, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dr. Connie Walton, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Kamil Jbeily, Executive director of the Texas Regional Collaboratives; Gary Lacombe, Executive Affairs manager of Shell Oil Company; and Jonathan Johnson, State director for Congressman Rodney Alexander.

Walton said, “The Louisiana Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science Teaching is an additional opportunity for Grambling State University and Louisiana Tech to combine resources in an effort to successfully execute a project.”

Jbeily thanked Shell for its support and said, “We serve teachers, students, and educators.”

Lacombe, who believes that we need math and science to continue to develop, told the honorees, “As educators, remember your students are the messengers you send to a place that we will never see. It is up to you to turn on the light bulb.”

For these teachers from eight parishes and five school districts, GSU provided a training workshop on Polymers, Plastics, and Recycling. Experiments in Polymer Chemistry were conducted by the teachers.

They conducted in experiments in preparing Nylon, Absorbant Polymers similar to those used in Pampers, and they learned how to use photochemical reactions to outline letters and numbers.

Also, the teachers learned much about the recycling of plastics and waste products in our society. The training consultants for the workshop were Dr. William F. Carroll Jr., past National President of the American Chemical Society and Dr. Fitzgerald Bramwell of Empire Science Resources, LLC.

In May 2006 The Shell Oil Company in partnership with the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science Teaching joined with the state of Louisiana to establish two regional collaborative for excellence in science teaching in the state of Louisiana.

The two collaboratives were formed in joint partnership agreements among four prominent universities in the state. One collaborative partnership was formed between GSU and Louisiana Tech University.

The other partnership was formed between Southern University (Baton Rouge) and Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge). The GSU/ TECH Collaborative is one of two regional collaborative programs in Louisiana.

GSU’s project director is Dr. Danny Hubbard, head of the Department of Chemistry. The project director at Louisiana Tech University was Linda Ramsey, director of the Center for Applied Teaching and Learning to Yield Scientific Thinking. Ramsey retired in June 2008 and was replaced by Dr. David Mills, associate professor of biological sciences.

The program is supported by the Shell Oil Company in partnership with the Texas Regional Collaboratives program and its mission is to provide science and mathematics teachers with education enhancements and support systems that serve to improve student performance in science; and stimulate student potential to pursue science and engineering related careers.

“Through this program our two institutes of higher education have partnered with K-12 schools and teachers to provide the teachers with professional development opportunities and resources for their classrooms and schools,” Hubbard said.

Science fair support for projects related in environmental sciences and geosciences are now being considered by application. Regional teachers are being contacted to apply for support awards up to $1,000. It is expected that three maximum awards will be given to teachers willing to help students develop projects.