December 17, 2014
The website of the American Chemical Society (ACS) currently features a story about Amy Keirstead, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, a member of the organization's Science Coach program.
Keirstead was interviewed in July 2014 regarding her participation in the program, which pairs chemistry professionals, who share their expertise in and enthusiasm for science, with an elementary, middle, or high school teacher and his or her students through the course of an academic year.
Last year, Keirstead partnered with Seth Staples, a chemistry teacher at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, Maine, who also serves as a chemistry tutor at the Student Academic Success Center (SASC) at UNE. Keirstead has renewed her partnership with Staples again this year, working with his class at Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram, where he now teaches.
Keirstead familiarizes the high school students with higher-level chemistry concepts by presenting condensed lectures and assisting in multi-step, hands-on experiments, for which UNE loans equipment. She also assists in coaching the students for their post-high school careers by working with them to transform their research data into posters and by polishing their public speaking skills in preparation for presentations to their school community.
The high schoolers have an opportunity to visit UNE for a day, working with student volunteers to learn about research techniques and equipment and to tour various research laboratories.
Keirstead views the partnership as beneficial not only to the students but as a benefit to herself as well. "As a college professor, it is helpful to have insight into what and how the students are learning in high school," she stated. "It helps me tune-in to my students’ needs and learning styles."