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2003/2004 ARMADA Master Teachers

My name is Elaine Amaral and I teach physics and oceanography at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. I am fortunate to live on Aquidneck Island, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. Just about every day I go to the shore and marvel at the vastness of the ocean and immense power of the changing sea. I like to poke around to see what creatures are about. These things interest me very much and it's why I love teaching science. When opportunities present themselves for further exploration, like sailing with friends or going snorkeling, I always take advantage of them. Being a part of the ARMADA Project has allowed me the opportunity to meet marine scientists and participate in data collection used in actual research studies. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Margaret Brumsted and I teach marine science and horticulture at Dartmouth High School in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. As a participant in the ARMADA Program I spent part of the 2003 summer vacation working with shellfish biologist and researcher, Karin Tammi. Karin is the restoration coordinator for the North Cape Shellfish Restoration Project and has the daunting task of replenishing shellfish stocks (bivalve mollusks) to the salt ponds of southern Rhode Island after a large oil spill decimated the populations. I have an interest in bivalves. They are not only very tasty, they also make great study subjects for my marine science classes.

Working with the North Cape Shellfish Restoration Project gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about shellfish culture. The Town of Dartmouth has a long tradition of harvesting shellfish commercially and recreationally from bodies of water located only a few minutes from the high school. I hope to incorporate this important community resource into my marine science curriculum and transfer what I learned about shellfish during my ARMADA experience into my classroom. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Deb Field and I am a marine and environmental science teacher at South Windsor High School in South Windsor, CT. I have been teaching high school juniors & seniors in a variety of these courses for the past eight years. Our participation in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl garnered me the invitation to apply for the ARMADA program and I was subsequently accepted. I have been mentoring beginning teachers in my own school as well as out of my district for the past five years. I also have been scoring beginning teacher portfolios for the State of Connecticut for the last four years. I have a degree in Animal Science and prior to teaching, I worked for an agricultural chemical company for 6 1/2 years as a pathology technician and quality assurance auditor. I am grateful for the opportunity to get back into a lab setting and return with meaningful information for my students. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Elizabeth Gibbs and I teach life science to seventh grade students at Thompson Middle School in Newport, Rhode Island, where I am in my sixth year of classroom teaching. Growing up on the Rhode Island coast, I have always loved being in, on, or around the ocean and enjoy scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, and just splashing around in the water and poking around in tidepools. With a background in environmental education, I have taught outdoors for Boston University Sargent Camp in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Save The Bay in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Office of Marine Programs at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. I emphasize learning in the field as much as possible. I have taken my students on field study trips to Rose Island, Fort Getty, and the Newport waterfront. In 2002, I participated in an Earthwatch program, Caring for Chimpanzees, in which I taught live from the field while volunteering at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute in Ellensburg, Washington. I was thrilled at the opportunity to participate in the ARMADA project to involve my students in real-world research, allow them to conduct field study of their own, and learn firsthand about the fascinating dusky dolphins of New Zealand. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Helen Hardy Dixon and I teach at Captain Isaac Paine Elementary School in Foster, RI. My checkered past has included working with harbor seals and love birds. My undergraduate degree was in biology and my graduate degree was in physiology, but I had been teaching in Montessori schools for seven years before I got my graduate degree. Having my own children changed my mind about going into research. I am now a fourth grade teacher, and have been in this position for five years. Last year I took a fantastic course, called Oceanography for Educators, at URI's Narragansett Bay Campus, and that got me interested in getting my class and school involved in ocean related subjects. The ARMADA project gave this interest a format, and gave me the chance to work with a third grade teacher, Laurie, in a mentoring capacity. See Research Experience.

My name is Christine Kirch. I grew up in a small mill town in upstate New York. I have always liked being in and around water and was fortunate to live near Lake Ontario. However, when I first saw the ocean, I was fourteen, I fell in love. My first ocean visit was to Cape Cod. I can still visualize many parts of that vacation.

I lived and taught in my small mill town until 1984. However, most of my vacations involved a trip to the ocean to get my "fix" of salt water, salt air, and seafood. In 1984 I moved to RI and in 1985 was hired by the Town of West Warwick. By 1990 I was teaching at the West Warwick high school. I had been involved for a year with Project Oceanology in Groton, CT at that time. From the knowledge I obtained in this project, I instituted a course in oceanology at the high school. I continue to teach this along with biology.

My teaching philosophy involves the idea that there is always more to know. Thus, my quest is to be a life long learner. I have been involved with many projects that involve the ocean and the ARMADA project is certainly one of the best. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Steve Krous, I am a teacher of biological sciences at Cranston High School West in Cranston, RI. I came to teaching relatively late in life. I had originally planned on and trained for a career in scientific research in the area of aquatic biology or aquaculture. With this goal in mind I completed a BS program in Natural Resources followed by a Masters Program in Aquaculture, both at the University of Rhode Island. After working in the private sector as an environmental writer for an engineering firm I decided to return to school to become a certified high school science teacher. At the time, I believed that my training in scientific research would enable me to bring a unique perspective to science classes that most high school science teachers may lack. Upon completing my certification courses and entering the job market I found that my type of training WAS rare and highly valued. It enabled me to get the position I wanted in a school that has permitted me to develop elective science courses in ecology, aquaculture, advanced biology, and oceanography. I know that I am extremely lucky to be able to teach the classes that I teach, since I have not found another school in the state that offers such a range of biological science electives . Now I find that there is a program designed to provide other science teachers with opportunities to participate in scientific research and bring those experiences into their classes. I believe that the ARMADA Project is an excellent way to address the lack of scientific research experience that exists in most high school science faculty. It can only improve the quality of education for our students at a time when any gain is sorely needed. Bravo to the initiators of this program! See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is John Langella and I am a science teacher at East Providence High School in Rhode Island. I have taught at both the middle school and high school levels. I am currently teaching biology and oceanology courses. In 2002 I was chosen as a Jason Project XIV "Teacher Argonaut" by the Jason Foundation for Education and traveled to the Channel Islands to work with scientist and students on that expedition. In 2003 I participated the M.I.T. Sea Grant sponsored underwater robotics program for educators and also traveled to the Black Sea as a member of Expedition 2003 through the Teacher ARMADA program. In addition to these recent programs, I utilize my experience as a SCUBA master instructor and licensed charter vessel captain to enrich my courses and introduce my students to the ocean realm. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Lynn Masellis and I teach at McGinnis Middle School in Perth Amboy, NJ. I was born with a love for nature and animals and the ocean has always been a place of comfort to me. I can remember many happy days spent at the Jersey Shore with my family. The smell of salt water and the sound of the ocean waves always brought a smile and a sense of happiness to me. As I spent my summers at various shores and explored all different types coasts in my travels, I always wanted to know more about the big blue sea.

In high school I took my first class in oceanography. My teacher introduced us to the microscopic plants and animals that were living just outside her bayside house. I will never forget the first glance at plankton under a microscope. I was hooked! During my last year at Kean University, as an Elementary Education and Earth Science major, I signed up for an Oceanography class in the Cayman Islands. I traveled there with five other students to complete a hands-on course about the sea and the life within it. It was fascinating and it led me to complete oceanography courses held at Sandy Hook, N.J. There I met a great bunch of professors who shared this affection for the sea. As I got more involved, I met scientists from N.O.A.A. and began volunteering to help investigate the depletion of Tautog (Black fish) in the New York Blight. Within a year, I was teaching young people about the ocean and the life within it. When I began following Dr. Robert Ballard and his travels down under the sea, I got involved in the JASON Project.

This past summer I got that chance of a lifetime to venture out into the Atlantic with three other scientists on an eighty-foot boat. We stopped to sample sixty different stations to study microscopic plant and animal life. For the two weeks out on the ocean I saw things that you cannot see on shore in a lifetime. It has changed my life. Through this learning adventure I have gotten a chance to share so much with the teachers and students that I work with. Today when I teach my students, I can take them on an adventure to learn more about the waters that surround the town and the world around them. I only hope that I can influence them to follow their own inquisitiveness, which could make their dreams, like mine, someday come true. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Sandy Pratt and I am a chemistry teacher at Woodstock Academy, Woodstock, CT. My chemistry-teaching career began in January 1972. I have attended a number of seminars on cooperative learning and use these methods extensively in my classroom. Since August of 2002, I have been teaching Advanced Chemistry I and Chemistry II AP at Woodstock Academy. I was very excited about becoming an ARMADA teacher for the opportunities to do research and to help other teachers learn to love teaching science.

Numerous events have highlighted my career as a chemistry teacher. In 1993, a group of my students won a national contest sponsored by Chemmatters (an American Chemical Society periodical) by designing and reporting outstanding experimentation on the nature of hypercolor dyes. Each year, the University of Rhode Island hosts the statewide chemistry contest. Since URI began naming 30 finalists each year for a four year scholarship, at least one of my students each year has been named a finalist. I have coached teams for the regional National Ocean Sciences Bowl and the DOE sponsored Science Bowl competitions. I was chosen RI Outstanding Chemistry Teacher in l997 by the RI division of the ACS and Secondary School Outstanding Chemistry Teacher in 1999 by the New England Institute of Chemists. I was named a Sizer Fellow and awarded a $7000 grant for work with a colleague in developing an aquatic course designed to increase the interactions of families with students at Smithfield High School. In 2000, I was honored by Tufts University for my work as an inspirational teacher. My article entitled "Cooperative Learning Strategies" was published in the April 2003 issue of The Science Teacher. The best tribute to my teaching, however, is the number of students, especially females, who leave my classes and go on to major in some aspect of chemistry at college. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Sarah Quan. I teach physics and earth science at Narragansett High School in Narragansett, Rhode Island. I coach the NHS cross-country team, the girls' lacrosse team, and the National Ocean Science Bowl team. It is through the latter that I linked up with the University of Rhode Island's Office of Marine Programs and ultimately became involved in the ARMADA Project. I was invited to join Dr. Thomas Rossby (University of Rhode Island) and Dr. Henrik Søiland (Institute for Marine Research; Bergen, Norway) on a research cruise in the Nordic Seas; a project that they began a decade ago. We studied currents and the exchange of waters between the northern North Atlantic and the Nordic Seas in an area between Iceland and the Faroe Islands referred to as the Iceland-Faroe Front (IFF). This is an area of high thermal contrast and understanding the flow through the IFF may lead to a better understanding of climate change scenarios for northern Europe.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to experience science from the ground floor. As a teacher I am so used to sharing with my students science that we already know. I experienced the process of science discovery while being a student myself. We began and ended the 3-week cruise in Bergen, Norway. On the southwest coast, Bergen is Norway's second largest city after Oslo. See Research Experience or Journal.

My name is Dave Zoglio and I teach environmental science at Classical High School in Providence, Rhode Island. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a major in plant and soil science. In 1975, I decided I would like to try a career in education and took a job as a vocational agriculture teacher at the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School, in Lexington Massachusetts. Our program allowed the teachers to create horticulture-related enterprises including two commercial greenhouses and a flower shop that was open to the public. The revenue from these enterprises (more than $70,000/year) was used to support the program and provide state of the art experiences for our students.

I obtained a Masters Degree in Education in 1981 at URI. In 1985, I left education to start a residential construction business. In 1992, I returned to education at the Rhode Island Training School and then at an alternative school in Attleboro, MA. In 1995, I returned to a more traditional middle school setting in Providence, RI. I then moved back to high school and began teaching general biology at Classical High School. Three years ago I started an AP Environmental Science program. I am also the advisor of WCHS, the student run TV station.

I have been involved in the URI Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education program through which I was partnered with a Ph.D. candidate from the Graduate School of Oceanography. This program helped in the design and implementation of the AP Environmental Science program.

I am presently a member of the ARMADA Project, which, through my summer experience, and school year activities, has given my students, and myself an insight into the day-to-day activities of those involved in doing real science. This association will be an important link to providing quality programs to our students now and for many years to come. See Research Experience.

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