2016 AMTA Spring Election of Officers: Candidates Statements-Vice President

Vice Presidential Candidates

4-year term: year 1-VP,  year 2-president elect, year 3-president, year 4-past president

Laura Slocum

I have been teaching chemistry for 26 years, the past three at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, SC.  I have been actively involved with my local section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) since 1990, in the Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED) within the ACS in a variety of ways since 1995, and I served as the Secondary School Associate Editor for the Journal of Chemical Education from 2007 through 2011.

After reading about Modeling Instruction for 3-4 years, I had the opportunity to take a 2-week chemistry workshop with Ray Howanski in the summer of 2010.  It took me until day three of the workshop to be completely sold on Modeling, but I was and even convinced my colleague who didn’t attend the workshop to join me the following year in being a “first-year teacher” all over again!!!  We both loved Modeling and the opportunities it provided for our “less than scientifically engaged students”.

I have never turned back – this is now my sixth-year to use Modeling Instruction in my chemistry classroom.  I am very blessed because the freshman science teacher at Heathwood Hall spent 2 years in Arizona learning how to teach physics with Modeling Instruction, so the second year I was at Heathwood Hall we flipped the curriculum and became a PCB school.  We have no regrets and most of our parents are really pleased, too.  This is always a good thing!!!

I believe that my past leadership experiences would be useful to AMTA. Because of my service within DivCHED, I have had a number of opportunities to share my experiences with Modeling Instruction and to invite others to share, too.  A couple of weeks ago I was even “brave enough” (Larry Dukerich’s words) to present how, why and when we address the particles inside the atom within the Modeling Chemistry Instruction program. The participants even did the Sticky Tape activity.  It went much better than I expected and a number of teachers had wonderful comments and questions about Modeling. Some who had previously been critical of this approach said they would consider using it.  For the past three years, I served as the chair on the first Conceptual High School exam to be written by the ACS Examination Institute.  This committee had 11 teachers from across the nation on it; 5 of these were modelers.  This exam will be available in the spring of 2016 and could easily be used as a final exam for those of us that teach using Modeling Instruction in chemistry.

Currently, I am serving as the High School Program Chair for the 2016 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).  There are a number of short Modeling workshops and symposia planned to help those within the modeling community share more about Modeling Instruction with others.  Larry Dukerich and I will also be co-leading a Chemistry 1 workshop the 2 weeks prior to the BCCE at UNC.

This is one of the biggest passions of my heart – sharing with others as those that have gone before me have done for me.  I want to help others grow to become the best educators they can be and enjoy their careers, too.  Serving each of you in the modeling community within the presidential succession, first as vice-president, would be an honor.

Donghong Sun

I started my teaching career in 2007, after having left my position as a Ph.D. chemist in a chemical company to raise my child. To prepare myself for the career change, I went through a graduate-level teacher certification program. There, I was introduced to constructivism and became a strong believer in the student-centered pedagogy it embodies. In addition, I had the fortune of attending a Modeling Physics workshop the summer before I started my first teaching assignment. I discovered that Modeling provided the practical classroom mechanisms to match my constructivist teaching philosophy. For the following two summers, I excitedly immersed myself in Modeling Chemistry I and II workshops, and was able to fully implement the curriculum in my own teaching. I then continued on to co-lead a ModChem workshop in 2010, and found that being able to share my passion for this powerful way of teaching with participating teachers gave me a great sense of fulfillment. This led me to join a group of physics teachers who founded PhysicsTeacherNYC in 2011, an organization with the sole purpose of organizing weekend and summer workshops in which teachers could learn the best practices from each other.  I spearheaded the addition of chemistry workshops the following year and have been co-leading ModChem summer workshops in since 2013.  The name has since changed to STEMteachersNYC to reflect the incorporation of multiple disciplines, and the organization has grown tremendously in the five years since its founding.  The personal learning and professional growth I gained as a workshop leader and as a board member have prepared and inspired me to contribute more to the Modeling community. With your support, I hope to have the opportunity to contribute my efforts into supporting and promoting Modeling Instruction in the larger teaching and learning communities as the Vice President for AMTA.