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Louisiana Tech selects area teachers for LA-SiGMA/Shell summer research program

The LA-SiGMA/Shell Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program at Louisiana Tech University has accepted ten teachers from elementary, middle and high schools across the region into its summer 2014 program class.

Louisiana Tech LA-SiGMA RET class

Louisiana Tech LA-SiGMA RET class

David Andersen (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts), Alex Chen (Forney High School), Theresa Do (Holly Ridge Elementary School), Anna Drago (Elm Grove Middle School), Donell Evans (Leesville High School), Mark Magauay (Fair Park High School), Mary Beth McCoy (Sterlington Middle School), Bruce Niemi (Tulsa Community College), Aleta Overby (Simsboro High School), and Danny Rogers (Morehouse Junior High School) will participate in the summer program designed to advance discovery and fundamental understanding while promoting teaching, training, and professional development of school teachers.

“I am looking forward to learning more about nanotechnology,” said Evans.  “I want to bring this real world scientific research and discovery to my classroom.”

The program is sponsored by LA-SiGMA (the Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications) and the Shell-supported North Louisiana Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (NLRC).

“Thanks to Shell, we have expanded the program this year,” said Alicia Boudreaux, LA-SiGMA’s North Louisiana Outreach Coordinator.  “We are excited about working not only with these excellent teachers, but also with the students they will invite for part of the program.  No better way to learn science than to DO science.”

Dr. Pedro Derosa, NLRC program leader and Grambling State University’s NLRC director, said “Partnering with LA-SiGMA has been one of best things that could have happened to our program.  Last year was already a success; this year having 10 teachers working with us for a whole six weeks has surpassed all our expectations. Now is the time to work, and we are looking forward to it.”

NLRC’s focus for 2014 is sparking K-12 science and mathematics with molecular modeling.

“With the progress of computer technologies, simulated experiments are more now than ever able to capture relevant pieces of molecular processes, allowing the visualization of abstract concepts in a way that it is not possible with any experimental instrument,” said Dr. Daniela Mainardi, Louisiana Tech’s NLRC director.  “The LA-SiGMA – NLRC partnership will provide our RET teachers this summer not only a state-of-the-art experience in STEM disciplines, but also its connection to material that can be transferred to their classrooms.”

The LA-SiGMA alliance includes Louisiana Tech, LSU, Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Southern University, Xavier University and Grambling State University, and is funded by a $20M grant from the National Science Foundation.  The North Louisiana Collaborative is an extension of the Texas Regional Collaborative, and has the objective to provide professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers of Science and Mathematics.

For more information about LA-SiGMA research and outreach programs, visit http://www.institute.loni.org/lasigma/ and for highlights on the Louisiana Collaborative, visit http://thetrc.org/web/louisiana.html.

Written by Alicia Boudreaux – aliciab@latech.edu