Science Super Heroes
In celebration of Science Channel’s 20th Anniversary we will be launching Science Super Heroes, crowning individuals each month who have used science to make a difference in their community. We at Science Channel know science is everywhere and used everyday. It’s in the DNA for progress and possibility. Through Science Super Heroes we are committed to igniting passion for science and encouraging the next generation of innovators, problem solvers and game changers.
Super Heroes will be honored both on air and online the first Thursday of every month!
This Month’s Winners
STEAM Lab Teacher, Millstone Elementary, Central NJ. Do Madagascar hissing cockroaches prefer the scent of peppermint over vanilla? Can you design a mountainside motel for a mouse? How about create safe transport for a 2,000-year-old fossil? This is what happens in Beth Topinka’s S.T.E.A.M. lab at the Millstone Township School District in central New Jersey. Beth also runs the Community Problem Solvers club that recently won first place in the New Jersey Future Problem Solving State Bowl. Looking to solve the problem of the spread of an invasive species, Beth’s students developed a solution to keep seeds from sticking to shoes and clothes. The Phearlessly Phighting Phragmites project team heads to the International Conference in Wisconsin in June.
Beth’s teaching philosophy is to engage students with their community to collaborate on authentic problems. She’s a vocal advocate for interdisciplinary, problem-based learning. In 2016 she was selected to be a Science Friday Educator Collaborator, as well as a state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. After graduating from Ashland University in Ohio and completing a master’s degree at The Ohio State University, Beth earned her teaching certification from Georgian Court University in New Jersey. She taught middle school science for 12 years, earning a Gifted Education Certificate from Rutgers along the way. She moved to Millstone’s elementary school to develop a NGSS-based STEAM program. WSF Program—The Ultimate Science Day: Visitors to Beth’s “What’s Shakin’?!” activity choose among three different structural engineering design challenges. How will your structural solutions protect precious artifacts from the terrifying earthquake encountered on our mighty, bicycle-powered shake table? Yes, you get to ride the bike!
Dr. Valerie Camille Jones
Math Teacher, Ron Clark Academy, Atlanta, Georgia. Dancing their way through geometry and algebra is what earned Camille Jones the reputation as her students’ favorite teacher…and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and recognition by Congressman John Lewis. Frequently dressed as a Poké Ball and teaching in a classroom that looks like it’s straight from the set of Willie Wonka, Camille uses real-life applications to teach her middle school in Southeast Atlanta that math is part of everything from architecture to basketball and more. Dr. Jones earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Spelman College and continued her studies by earning master’s and doctoral degrees in Mathematics Education from Georgia State University and Columbia University respectively. Dr. Jones is national board certified and also a certified industry studio teacher. She is greatly respected for her creative approach in making the most difficult topics tangible to her students. Dr. Jones teaches her students how to effectively use mathematical models as communication tools. In the classroom, she develops art and video game simulations to connect students to math and coordinates field trips to provide real-life examples of the influence of math. WSF Program—Cool Jobs: Glow-in-the-dark sticks, dancing, geometric shapes will entrance the audience in how Jones teachers math in her class.
Physics Teacher, Basis Independent Brooklyn School. It’s hard not to love your physics teacher when he has a fellow teacher smash a cinderblock on his chest with a sledgehammer to demonstrate inertia and mass. Leaving his home state of Mississippi and teaching university physics, Joshua headed to Brooklyn to show that even 11-year-olds can grapple physics.Joshua Winter has been teaching physics for over 15 years to students of all age levels. Whether kindergartners or college students, his engaging teaching style, and exciting demonstrations make even the most complex concepts accessible. Winter is the recipient of numerous excellence in teaching awards including the Herb Handley Outstanding New Science Teacher Award from the Mississippi Science Teacher’s Association and the Faculty Teaching Award in Natural & Physical Sciences and Math & Statistics from the Mississippi State University. For his series on the Physics of Football, he won the GOLD Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters. Winter is also a musician in a local rock band and enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife and two pups.
With a continued dedication to promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to students everywhere, Discovery Communications partners with nonprofit US2020, which seeks to to dramatically scale the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects, with a focus on girls and underrepresented minorities.
Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold, providing girls across the U.S. and Canada with life-changing experiences and solutions to the unique challenges they face. The Girls Inc. Experience consists of people, an environment, and programming that, together, empower girls to succeed. Trained staff and volunteers build lasting, mentoring relationships in girls-only spaces that are physically and emotionally safe and where girls find a sisterhood of support with shared drive, mutual respect, and high expectations. Hands-on, research-based programs provide girls with the skills and knowledge to set goals, overcome obstacles, and improve academic performance. Informed by girls and their families, Girls Inc. also works with policymakers to advocate for legislation and initiatives that increase opportunities for girls. At Girls Inc., girls grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals, AAAS has individual members in more than 91 countries around the globe. Membership is open to anyone who shares our goals and belief that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can help solve many of the challenges the world faces today. You can lend your support to our efforts on behalf of scientists, engineers, educators, and students everywhere by becoming a member. Together we can make a difference: Join Us.
Iridescent’s mission is to create and deliver powerful science, engineering and technology education to help underprivileged children and youth develop: Curiosity to learn how things around us work; Creativity to try new ideas; Perseverance to keep improving and developing their ideas. We are an education non-profit that trains professional engineers, scientists, and parents to deliver cutting-edge STEM education to underserved girls, children and their families. Over the past seven years, we’ve trained more than 3,500 mentors and engaged more than 60,000 participants in our programs.
DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) Girls’ mission is to increase girls’ interest and success in technology, engineering and making through innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships. We’re a supportive community for girls driven by an interest in creating and building with technology. DIY Girls uses a three-pronged program approach that integrates engagement, capacity building, and continuity to ensure girls’ success. We offer after-school and in-school programs, as well as workshops that provide hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) experiences for girls. Girls learn technical skills and apply them by creating their own creative projects and inventions. DIY Girls has reached over 1200 girls in Los Angeles since 2012.
Mouse is a national youth development nonprofit that believes in technology as a force for good. Mouse empowers all students to create with technology to solve real problems and make meaningful change in our world. Mouse is committed to creating more diversity in STEM and opening opportunities for students from underserved communities across the country.