The article below is a press release submitted by Discovery Education.
This fall, Lawrence Perretto, a teacher at , will return to his classroom with a deeper understanding of the practical implications of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts after spending part of his summer break engaged in an immersive research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Perretto worked with a team of scientists and fellow teachers to look at the biomass that could lead to improved biofuel production as part of an elite fellowship program arranged by the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board.
He was one of just 20 teachers from across the country selected to participate in the research project at ORNL through the prestigious Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) fellowship program. STARs is part of the Siemens STEM Academy, a premier online professional development community for STEM educators empowering and celebrating excellence in STEM education.
The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and their partners developed the STARs fellowship to invigorate teachers by immersing them in authentic research alongside some of the country’s brightest scientific minds. The hope is that these teachers will bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire their students to pursue STEM education and careers.
"We hope that Lawrence’s experience at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the experiences of all of his cohorts, will help inspire their students to become our country’s next generation of scientists and engineers," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. "We see the STARs program as a key part of the Siemens Foundation’s broad effort to improve our country’s competency in STEM education and are honored that Lawrence was able to participate.”
At the ORNL, Perretto and his colleagues worked with Barbara Evans of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences division to research the structure of lignocellulosic biomass, such as switchgrass, and how they are processed for use in the production of biofuels.
“The Siemens STARs Fellowship is a rare opportunity to grow professionally and to make world class science research accessible to students,” Perretto said. “I am honored by the privilege of this selection.”
In addition to their research, Perretto and the other STARs fellows were involved in a number of facility tours and seminars aimed at helping them effectively incorporate research into their classrooms. Each teacher also received a grant to purchase equipment and/or supplies for their classroom.
Following the programs, the fellows will serve as ambassadors in their schools and communities as they continue working together on various STEM projects and empowering their peers with the tools and knowledge gained at the STARs program. The hope is that these teachers will then bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire students to pursue opportunities in STEM related fields.
Please visit http://www.siemensstemacademy.com for a full list of STARs fellows and additional background.
About the Siemens STEM Academy
The Siemens STEM Academy (www.siemensstemacademy.com) is a collaborative effort of the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board to empower and celebrate excellence in science, technology, engineering and math education. As the premier online professional development community for STEM educators, over 125,000 teachers from across the United States exchange and download resources, participate in and view webinars, obtain up-to-date STEM news and network with their peers. Additionally, each year the STEM Academy selects top educators from around the country to participate in the Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) programs, two-week professional development experiences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In addition, 50 educators are chosen to participate in the Siemens STEM Institute, a one-week professional development initiative at Discovery Communications headquarters in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.siemensstemacademy.com.
About the Siemens Foundation
The Siemens Foundation provides more than $7 million annually in support of educational initiatives in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Its signature programs include the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, and the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to develop innovative green solutions for environmental issues. In February 2010, the Siemens Foundation launched its newest initiative, The Siemens STEM Academy, a national STEM education program for teachers designed to support educators in their efforts to foster student achievement in these fields. By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow's scientists and engineers. The Foundation's mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens' U.S. companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For further information, visit www.siemens-foundation.org.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education transforms classrooms, empowers teachers and captivates students by providing high quality, dynamic, digital content for grades K-12 and community colleges. Powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world, Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital media, professional development, assessment tools and a passionate educator network to support districts in accelerating student achievement. Discovery Education services like Discovery Education streaming, Discovery Education Techbook and Discovery Education Higher Ed, are in more than half of all US schools and 35 countries around the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.