Realizing many of our current faculty members chose their careers thanks to great educators in their lives, Dean Lee Kump sought out a list of teachers to honor in the college’s first cohort of EMS Hall of Fame Educators.
“So many of my colleagues can trace their early interest in science to a particularly influential middle- or high-school teacher,” Kump said. “These gifted teachers deserve our praise and recognition for igniting a passion for science that in our case led to a career in science and education.”
2022 Inaugural Class
The 2022 Inaugural Hall of Fame recipients include:
Roxboro Junior High School, nominated by Tanya Furman
“Mrs. Barber was all about active learning long before it became a thing. She empowered every student to take charge of the experiments and to try new things, and she was a powerful positive force for all learners. I came to appreciate later that it was not common to have an African American woman teaching chemistry in middle school. Her very presence showed us all that we belong and can succeed. She was a kind soul and one heck of an inspiration,” Furman said.
Hudsonville Public High School, nominated by Jesse Reimink
“Chris Bolhuis is, by far, the single most important reason I am a geoscientist. Chris has inspired students to pursue geoscience as a profession for decades. On average, Hudsonville produces around seven professional geoscientists per graduating class, a remarkable feat from a part of the country where geoscience has a very small economic footprint. Chris instilled in me an appreciation for the geosciences and continues to motivate me to become a better geoscience researcher, educator, and communicator. He has been, and remains, an inspiration to me and many others,” Reimink said.
Regnart Elementary, nominated by Kimberly Lau
“Mrs. Locke inspired me to be a learner. Before the fifth grade, I didn’t understand the rewards and pride of challenging myself to pursue knowledge and ideas. She trusted us to make decisions about our learning that gave us independence, freedom, and joy. Her lessons were always creative. Having Mrs. Locke as my teacher is the turning point that has led me to continue as a learner today,” Lau said.
Auburn High School, nominated by Kenneth Davis
“Shikwon Choi taught high school mathematics, from trigonometry through calculus, with rigor that would make any university faculty member proud, and with care for his students that goes far beyond the requirements for any teacher. I would not be in my current position without the solid foundation Mr. Choi laid out in the mathematics that was critical to my undergraduate training. I expect that the same is true for many students who were blessed by his 40 years of teaching upper-level mathematics in Auburn public schools,” Davis said.
Carol Cook Brant
Jupiter High School, nominated by James Adair
“Carol Cook Brant developed and taught Problems in American Democracy at Jupiter High School, Florida. My senior year, 1969-70, at Jupiter High was especially tumultuous to say the least, constant protests against the War in Vietnam, occasional bombings, and worst of all, four protestors shot and killed and nine protesters wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen during war protests at Kent State. Cook’s teaching of contemporary problems in America taught our class to critically, write, and provide oral reports. We had debates around the topics of the day with almost daily events feeding into the daily narrative. Ms. Cook brought this knowledge and critical thinking to us, a gift to all of us in her Jupiter classes that has lasted a lifetime,” Adair said.
Blackhawk Area High School, nominated by Stevie Rocco
“Ed Dambach was my high school calculus teacher. A supremely dedicated educator, he inspired scores of us to continue learning. In my case, his classroom demeanor, activities, and dedication inspired me to go on to become a teacher myself. He was a supreme educator, and I consider myself blessed to have had him as a teacher,” Rocco said.
Hilton Central High School, nominated by Christopher Marone
“Ed Evans is still one of my favorite people and he’s still the best teacher I’ve ever met — always full of ideas and energy to talk about science. Ed taught his honors Earth Science from a book he cowrote called ‘Spaceship Earth.’ It was way ahead of its time with a holistic view of Earth, environment, etc., and it had a section on plate tectonics. Ed Evans is exactly the kind of person who belongs in the EMS Educator Hall of Fame,” Marone said.
The Vivekananda Institution, Howrah, India, nominated by Sekhar Bhattacharyya
“Murari Ghosh, my high school English teacher, inspired me to express in short sentences my honest opinion about matters as I comprehend and interpret them. He also introduced me to a rock-climbing club that eventually developed a passion in me to work in remote areas and love nature. It sparked a background in geology and mining with a goal to protect and not destroy all that we have around us,” Bhattacharyya said.
Bayville Intermediate School, nominated by Marisa Ferger
“I remember being so nervous for my first day of fourth grade. I had moved up to the intermediate school and was starting a class with a teacher who was new to the school. It turns out it was a big day for Herschlein, too, as she was just beginning her career in elementary education. Not only was she young and lively, she also pushed us to try our best and do new things. Herschlein not only convinced me that girls can excel in math and science, but that we should think about careers in those fields. Who knew then that was a possibility? (This was the 1984-85 school year),” Ferger said.
Calvary Temple Christian School, nominated by Brandon Schwartz
“Dan Konczal was my science, Spanish, and English teacher from ninth to 12th grade. He put a tremendous amount of work into each of his classes and more so into each of his students. After taking his biology class, I wanted to be a zoologist! After his chemistry class, I wanted to be a chemist! Dan had a profound influence on my decision to pursue a career in STEM, and even though he has retired from teaching I still consider him to be a friend and role model,” Schwartz said.
Chelsea High School, nominated by Joshua Inwood
“Mr. Mitchell is a math teacher at Chelsea High School and also was active in coaching. I was terrible in math and Mitchell worked hard, including working in the evening to tutor and help me make it through. I wanted to recognize him because I think about him often when students ask for help and need extra attention. I try to pay forward all the time and energy that he gave,” Inwood said.
Steubenville Catholic Central High School, nominated by Jon Nese
“Mr. Henry ‘Hank’ Pietrzak, known to all as ‘Mr. P,’ was my high school biology teacher. Though I didn’t pursue that field, he helped my interest in science grow, and once I got to be a senior, Mr. P gave me my first opportunity to be a ‘teaching assistant,’ working in his lab and helping correct papers. He just made high school fun and enjoyable. Mr. P was also my high school golf coach. He helped instill confidence in a kid who loved the game but hadn’t quite figured it out. The peak of my golf career may very well have been senior year in high school!” Nese said.
Golden Valley High School, nominated by Kump
Moshannon Valley High School, nominated by Haley Sankey
“Shetrom’s approach made each student feel like a contributor of knowledge instead of merely a consumer. She had the best sense of humor, an amazing amount of patience, and the ability to empower each and every student. Her love of biology was infectious and a main reason I pursued a science degree. As a high school teacher, she didn’t just teach biology, she also taught confidence and curiosity, two qualities that are not typically encouraged in rural women,” Sankey said.
Alfred-Almond Central School, nominated by John Mauro
“Teresa Williams fostered my love of computational science through multiple computer courses and our school’s computer club. She provided opportunities to learn programming, including visual programming back when that was new. I owe so much of who I am as a scientist to Teresa Williams. She inspired me to pursue a double degree in materials science and computer science and to look for creative ways to combine fields,” Mauro said.