MONROE – Debra Morgan, a teacher at South Sevier High School in Monroe, received notice of being awarded a $5,000 stipend, an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for the Advocate Training Institute and continued support throughout the year from the Society for Science & the Public, April 25. As a lead advocate, Morgan will supervise newer advocates.
Advocates are educators and scientists supported by the society’s Advocate Grant Program. They expand opportunities for underrepresented and low-income students by helping them develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects that can then be entered into science research competitions, a pathway to higher education and STEM careers. Students who participate in science research competitions not only gain confidence, but also acquire important problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration and effective communication skills. Now in its fifth year, the program continues to grow and reach more students.
To date, more than 1,500 students who have participated in the Advocate Grant Program competed in nearly 2,400 science research competitions. Additionally, since its launch in 2015, more than 2,000 students have worked with the society’s advocates. Ninety percent of those students are low-income and 70 percent are of an underrepresented ethnicity.
Morgan currently teaches high school earth science, chemistry, physics, and investigation science to students. Morgan also serves as a district technology coach. When she isn’t in the classroom, she seeks to promote positive change, authentic research, and active investigation in rural science education.
“Being selected for the Science for Society & the Public Advocate Grant Program is a game changer for a rural high school like mine,” said Morgan. “The program provides the networking and resource support necessary to help me assist my students at not only completing successful scientific research projects, but also in being competitive with their more urban and suburban peers. The doors that open for my students and the confidence it builds in them is priceless.”