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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Director of SwiSTEM Resource Center driving for science and math literacy

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Becker
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LaVerne Jones
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Kara G. Becker has joined USI's Pott College of Science and Engineering as director of the Southwest Indiana STEM Resource Center. USI is a regional lead institution in the I-Stem Resource Network, and the SwISTEM Resource Center is part of the state-wide initiative to create a science- and mathematics-literate workforce in Indiana.

Becker was employed by Henderson County High School in Henderson, Kentucky, where she was an advanced placement chemistry lead teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and recombinant genetics and a Master of Arts in Education degree in chemistry from Western Kentucky University. She also holds a National Board Teaching Certification in science/adolescence and young adulthood.

She was named Science Educator of the Year by the Kentucky Science Teachers Association in 2005, was a state semifinalist for the President's Award for Academic Excellence in 2007, and was American Chemical Society Southeast Region Teacher of the Year in 2008.

Dr. Scott Gordon, dean of the Pott College, said, "We are very excited to have Kara as our SwISTEM Resource Center director. Kara brings to us a wealth of experience and an energy and enthusiasm that is contagious. Her award-winning classroom experience along with her science and education background and training make her the ideal fit for this position."

SwiSTEM is funded by a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant. This fall, Becker and Allison Grabert, science coordinator for the center, will drive new SwISTEM trucks - mobile labs of advanced equipment otherwise unavailable to area students - to schools throughout the Southwest Indiana region.

"I can't imagine what the teachers will be able to do with all that equipment," Becker said. "It's an exciting time to be in science and mathematics in Southern Indiana."



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