Melinda Woods Carpenter, an 8th grade science teacher at Summersville Middle School in Summersville and Sarah Mullins, an 8th grader at Ritchie County Middle School, have been selected as National Teacher and Student Argonauts and will participate in a two-year internship with The JASON Project, a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society.
Carpenter is one of the one-hundred and ten West Virginia teachers who have received JASON training at Glenville State College, and Mullins is one of over four-thousand students that have been exposed to JASON curriculum by these teachers. Mullin’s Ritchie County Middle School Science teacher, Katrina Andrews, also has received JASON training through Glenville State College.
JASON’s science curriculum and professional development training was implemented beginning in the summer of 2009 at Glenville State College’s Hidden Promise Consortium. The partnership between the Consortium, Glenville State College and JASON has been made possible by special funding secured by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan (WV). JASON connects students with ‘great explorers and great events’ to inspire and motivate them to pursue science and related careers.
“I am extremely proud to have Melinda and Sarah selected to represent 5th-8th grade science teachers and students from our Hidden Promise Consortium counties,” said Dr. Peter B. Barr, President of Glenville State College. “Their accomplishments are extraordinary and now everyone in their schools and in Nicholas and Ritchie counties as well as the entire Consortium, will be able to follow their progress on this exciting adventure.”
Among the nine students and four teachers selected through an international competition, Carpenter and Mullins will take part in field expeditions led by top scientists from NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, National Geographic and other organizations. Their work will be featured in JASON’s upcoming curriculum units in Space, Climate, and Forces and Motion, scheduled for release in 2011.
“Melinda and Sarah are already role models, but now they will have even greater reach and impact by joining the expeditions and becoming part of a science curriculum used around the world,” said Caleb M. Schutz, President of The JASON Project. “They will be in a position to share their passion for science with students and teachers everywhere, and we are delighted to have them join us.”
To prepare for their fieldwork, Carpenter, Mullins and their fellow Argonauts, named for the crew that sailed aboard Argo with Jason, the mythological Greek explorer, will attend ‘boot camp’ July 11-22 in Washington, D.C. and other locations, where they will study the science content and learn protocols for scientific investigation. Subsequently, they will venture into the field with scientists and a video production crew to capture footage for JASON’s multimedia curriculum units.
After the expedition, Carpenter and Mullins will work with JASON staff to help develop, review, and eventually launch new curriculum units.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to become part of the JASON team. As a teacher, I can see the impact JASON is having and I look forward to sharing my experience with others,” said Carpenter.
“This is a dream come true, and I just can’t wait to get started,” said Mullins.
JASON’s new curriculum line, designed for students in grades 5-8 and used throughout K-12 for differentiated instruction, reaches an estimated 2 million students annually. All units are aligned to state and national science standards and have garnered multiple national education and technology awards.
More than 11 million students and teachers have used JASON curriculum since its founding in 1989 by Dr. Robert Ballard, the National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who is best known for discovering RMS Titanic and who today serves as Chairman and Chief Scientist.
Last month, Dr. Robert Ballard visited Glenville State College to recount his discovery of RMS Titanic and other underwater exploits to over 1,000 Consortium students and teachers. He also joined U.S. Rep. Mollohan and other distinguished visitors in recognizing student and teacher Argonaut applicants, and the dozens of teachers and students who showcased examples of their work with JASON curriculum.
Glenville State College will be offering summer professional development for teachers who have not completed JASON training, and sessions for those who wish to be trained in additional units are scheduled for June 21-25 and August 9-13. For more information about these sessions or the JASON Project, contact Ed Toman, GSC JASON Project Director, at Edward.Toman@glenville.edu or (304) 462-7361 ext. 6023.