New Warner Student Is One of Nation's Top Future Science Teachers Recognized

Kimberly BruczIncoming Warner School master’s student Kimberly Brucz was awarded a 2009 Science Teaching Fellowship by the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF). She was one of only nine science finalists selected from across the nation to receive this prestigious Fellowship.

“I am really excited to win a Knowles Fellowship,” says Brucz. “I was initially nervous about making the career transition, but I know that this is the right path for me, and I’m so confident of it. Between the Warner School and the Knowles Fellowship, I will now have the support system on both the local and national levels. This will be especially advantageous during my first few years of teaching, when one can feel isolated or alone. It’s perfect for someone like me who is a career changer.”

Explicitly designed to meet the financial and professional needs of new science and mathematics teachers, the KSTF Fellowship helps ensure that the nation’s best teachers remain in the profession to become leaders in the field. This national program supports individuals with a degree in science, engineering, or mathematics who want to teach high school science or mathematics.

The funding will be used to provide her with tuition assistance, monthly living stipends, and support for summer professional development, as well as regular meetings, online discussions, a structured mentor relationship, and teaching materials. Following an orientation meeting in June, Brucz, along with other KSTF Fellows, will meet three times per year—in the spring, summer and fall—and communicate regularly via an electronic bulletin board system.

Starting in June, Brucz will be enrolled in the Get Real! Science Project, a 15-month science teacher preparation graduate program at Warner. Get Real! Science, which is designed to engage students in real science, is grounded in authentic experiences including the summer Get Real! Science Action Camp, Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science) program, and more. Upon receiving her master’s degree in education, she plans to teach biology or chemistry in an urban school setting.

“I don’t necessarily want to make little scientists,” adds Brucz whose high school chemistry teacher impacted her passion for science and influenced her to use her scientific talents to inspire future students. “Instead, I hope to encourage and support my students and make science not so intimidating for them.”

Brucz completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at St. Bonaventure University in 2001 and her master’s degree in structural biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2005. Most recently, she has served as the technical director at the High Throughput Screening Core Facility at the University of Rochester where she works with researchers to screen diverse chemical libraries for identification of molecules that can subsequently be used in grant proposals or as leads for therapeutics.

The Science Teaching Fellows program began in 2002 with four Teaching Fellows. Since its inception, the program has admitted between 9 and 14 new Fellows each year. Highly competitive, the KSTF Teaching Fellowships are awarded after a rigorous selection process by KSTF program staff and a judging panel of esteemed scientists, mathematics and educators. KSTF awards Fellowships to candidates who demonstrate exceptional content knowledge, a commitment to teaching, ability to teach, and leadership. In the 2008-09 academic year alone, KSTF Fellows, who teach in high schools nationwide, will impact nearly 10,000 students.

Tags: fellowship, Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, science education