Thanks to Dr. Marilyn Steneken, who submitted this post, edited from an article posted on August 14, 2014 by Heather Jones in Science, Using Gizmos.
Dr. Marilyn Steneken teaches 7th grade life science at a middle school in Sparta Township in New Jersey. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Science from Montclair University and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Marygrove College. She completed her Ed.D. in Teacher Leadership from Walden University in 2011. She has always recognized the benefits of e-learning for students. As an advocate for online education, her dissertation focused the relationship between environmental literacy and students’ participation in global online collaboration. In 2003, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching for secondary science education. In the last two years, she has worked with the NJ Department of Education as a member of the Next Generation Science Standards Adoption Committee and Advisory Team.
Dr. Steneken or Dr. S (as some of her students call her) has a passion for science and education that is unmet. Even after 27 years of teaching, her “love” of science education is inspiring. In addition to being an educator, she is an active member of the scientific community. In 2005, she participated in a WHOI oceanographic expedition and traveled to the hydrothermal vents in the mini-sub Alvin (pictured below). She shares, “Since then, the chemosynthetic ecosystems of the deep sea have fascinated me.”
As a way to instill this same enthusiasm for science in her students, she often provides hands-on experiences. A pioneer in problem based learning (PBL), she has been working with the NJ Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to raise brook trout with her classes since 1994. The Trout in the Classroom program is now in over 120 schools. Recently Dr. S. received a grant to bring 3D printers and a digital scanner into the middle school. She hopes to inspire students and teachers alike to utilize this state-of-the-art technology.
Marilyn also added these personal notes:
As a certified scuba diver, I have traveled to many exotic locations. My many adventures include a journey through the Galapagos Islands, zip lining in Costa Rica, diving the reefs of the Caribbean, and an African safari. I infuse her personal experiences into my curriculum so that students appreciate the global interconnections of our environment.While my passion lies in the field of science, the most important thing in my life is family. Having five grandchildren, ranging from 4 to 12 in age, my favorite pastime is spending time laughing and exploring the world with them. No matter how old I am, I will always savor the kid inside myself and nurture her sense of wonder.