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COE M.A.T. student receives competitive award for STEM education

Kayla Oglesby, a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) secondary science student, was selected as part of a competitive process to participate in the nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) June 16-July 22 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, she will have the opportunity to interact with a diverse set of in-service and pre-service science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers and community college faculty from across the nation to learn about and conduct cutting-edge research in nanotechnology. Oglesby’s award totals nearly $10,000 and includes a stipend, materials and support for classroom activities, travel, housing and a portion of meals.

“Winning this award is very exciting as it will enable me to travel, meet and collaborate with other STEM professionals, while learning a variety of STEM techniques to implement in my classroom,” said Oglesby. “Most importantly, I am able to share this once in a lifetime opportunity with my students, colleagues and friends as they follow my adventures on Twitter.”

RET participants will conduct research in world-class labs and engage in other activities for weeks on a full-time basis, with four follow-up sessions during the school year. Each teacher will develop a high-quality, multi-day instructional module with associated instructional resources that is grounded in the research conducted and the research area in which the teacher has worked throughout the summer. In addition to teaching this module to students and collecting data on its integration in her classroom, Oglesby’s module will be shared nationwide through nanotechnology hubs.

“Though Kayla herself represents an underrepresented population in STEM (a female from the rural southeast), she will have the ability to use this experience to also broaden the experiences of her students, who are also underrepresented in STEM and on college campuses across the nation,” said Lacey Huffling, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning and Oglesby’s faculty mentor. “Kayla will not only gain a unique and memorable experience, but she will also contribute to the atmosphere of the RET through her eagerness for learning.”
“As far as nanotechnology, I have not had much practice within this field of science. Yet, I am eager to learn, I am determined and I enjoy learning new things that not only affect my life but my students, my school and my family. I often tell my students who believe that they will forever be ‘stuck’ in this small town that small things can lead to big opportunities,” added Oglesby.


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