Hinkley science teacher receives national grant from science company

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AURORA | Hinkley High School science teacher Susan Mumford-Hartley is one of 10 STEM teachers who received an inaugural grant from Vernier Science Education.

Vernier is a scientific education company that sells lab equipment, software, textbooks and other products to educators at the K-12 and college level.

The awardees were selected out of more than 400 applicants nationwide for the inspiration grants. Each will receive $1,000 in Vernier technology of their choosing, an annual license for the Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro app and three hours of professional development training, according to a news release from the company.

“There are so many educators who are passionate about bringing exciting, hands-on STEM learning opportunities to students,” Vernier CEO John Wheeler said in the release. “Our Inspiration Grants were designed to provide some of these educators with data-collection technology and professional development to help them offer hands-on, socially relevant STEM learning in their classrooms.”

The panel selecting the awardees considered how they would implement the technology in the classroom, their educational institution’s needs and how the funding would help engage their students, the release said.

When it comes to student engagement, Mumford-Hartley has a track record. In 2013, she received the National Science Teacher Association Ron Mardigian Memorial Biotechnology Explorer Award for making biotechnology accessible in the classroom.

“Many people are surprised to learn that high school students have amazing opportunities, such as analyzing their own DNA for a gene, transforming bacteria or isolating proteins,” she said at the time. “This award draws attention to what my students are doing, and for that, I am very grateful.”

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