Eastern Arizona Science Initiative announces 2017 STEM Educators of the Year

The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI) honored Mrs. Allie Wren, 5th grade teacher from Thatcher Elementary School and Ms. Rebecca Bell, Biology, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Duncan High School as the 2017 STEM Educators of the Year. The EASI STEM Educator of the Year Award is an annual recognition of two outstanding educators; one representing Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade and another representing 7th through 14th (college level), who are actively involved in providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in the Eastern Arizona region.

Mrs. Allie Wren, 5th grade teacher from Thatcher Elementary School shares the field of science with her class in an effort to increase their interests during this important time in their academic career. Jeff Tysoe, Mine Engineer at Freeport-McMoRan nominated Mrs. Wren for the title stating; “Allie has taken upon herself to expose her students, who happen to live in a Mining community, to the diverse world of Mining Technology and Earth Science. She has utilized tools such as “Dig into Mining” as well as bringing in guest lecturers from industry to conduct presentations and experiments for the students to see firsthand how technical and exciting a career in Mining can be. (Students were exposed to Mineral/Metal Demand, Blasting Techniques, Mining Processes and even had in-class demonstrations of SXEW Processes where Copper Solution was electrically charged to plate a common nail with 99.9% Copper).

The TES students who are lucky enough to have Allie as a science teacher have a better understanding of the science and technology required for a career in the Mining Industry, but maybe more importantly have the unique opportunity to pursue a technical career that allows them to stay in their hometown.”

Ms. Rebecca “Becky” Bell, Science teacher from Duncan High School, uses her small-town pride to bring out the best in her students. Ms. Bell teachers a variety of upper level science curriculum including; Biology, Chemistry, Physics and even Zoology. Ms. Bell is dedicated to providing her students with an outstanding science education and takes her students to the annual Engineering Day and Chemistry Adventure Day at Eastern Arizona College, with her students often winning the various competitions among the several high schools that attend. Ms. Bell was nominated by Tammy Gillespie, EAC Biology and A & P Professor, who states “ She is dedicated to providing outreach to all students in Graham and Greenlee counties; as a founding member of the Eastern Arizona Science Initiative (EASI), she participates in the Summer Science Camps at the Discovery Park campus of EAC and Tonto Basin STEM camp… (she) is also a member of the Graham & Greenlee – Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN), an organization that promotes STEM opportunities to all community members throughout Arizona…and she doesn’t stop there; she also coaches the Knowledge Bowl team and is the NHS advisor at Duncan High School. Becky truly is the ultimate teacher.

Both recipients received a framed certificate distinguishing them as 2017 STEM Educator of the Year, as well as a certificate for an Educational Outreach visit for two to the Mt. Graham International Observatory from the EAC Discovery Park Campus, a $25 gift certificate donated by the El Charro Restaurant in Safford for a delicious meal, and two tickets each for the Allen Theater “Stargazer 5” theater for a much needed evening away from their classrooms.

The Eastern Arizona Science Initiative truly appreciates or friends who generously donated gifts to honor our STEM Educators of the year, as well as the Eastern Arizona Community for their support of our local educators. EASI is a non-profit group of educators and professionals whose mission is to improve STEM education and provide teacher professional development throughout Eastern Arizona.

For more information on activities or opportunities to donate or volunteer, please call Paul Anger at (928) 428-6260.