2013 STEM Mid-Atlantic

Award Year 

Through her vision and exceptional leadership, Dr. Mary Satterfield has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers. The Institute brings together teachers and more than 100 NIST scientists and engineers for two weeks of hands-on science based on the cutting-edge measurement research at NIST, which is designed to match the middle school science curriculum and expose the teachers (more) to educational models. Teachers complete the NIST Summer Institute with a wealth of new knowledge about “hot” topics such as cybersecurity, forensics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. They are supplied with information and artifacts to assist them with integrating these topics into their classroom while meeting curriculum standards.Since 2007, the program has helped increase understanding and awareness of science in middle school teachers in Maryland. In 2010 the NIST Summer Institute expanded to offer teachers across the nation the opportunity to participate, allowing the program to grow from just 12 teachers from the local school district to one that has now reached over 120 teachers from 17 school districts, including several from underserved communities.Dr. Satterfield designed the program as a multi-phase interactive learning experience for science teachers that includes at its core a 2-week workshop to immerse teachers in the excitement of science at NIST; a series of interactive seminars and activities, “Science Afternoons at NIST,” conducted throughout the normal school year to introduce stimulating and timely scientific topics; and other informal meetings and social occasions for NIST scientists and engineers, undergraduate research fellows, and previous NIST Summer Institute teachers to build networks for future interactions. In 2011, Dr. Satterfield further expanded the program by designing a unique 6-week “Research Experience for Teachers” (RET). This experience allowed previous participants in the 2-week workshop to directly participate in scientific research at NIST. Through one-on-one mentorship with NIST scientists, the teachers worked on projects combining research with direct applications tailored to developing, maintaining, advancing, and enabling the nation’s measurement system. Dr. Satterfield is continuing to look for new, innovative approaches to expand the reach of the program as she has begun discussions and outreach efforts with a group of universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities about adopting the program through a “train-the-trainer” concept. (less)