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GW Middle School Teacher Completes Prestigious Research Program

Mary Breslin spent part of summer break in special educators' program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Mary Breslin, a teacher at , is starting up the school year with a newfound understanding of science, technology, engineering and math concepts after spending part of her summer in a research program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Breslin worked with a team of scientists and fellow teachers to look at possible risks associated with orchard farming as part of an elite fellowship program arranged by the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board.

Breslin was one of 20 teachers from across the country selected to participate in the research project through the Siemens Teachers as Researchers, or STARs, fellowship program.

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and their partners developed the fellowship to invigorate teachers by immersing them in authentic research alongside some of the country’s top scientists, the groups said.

At the lab in Richland, Wash., Breslin and colleagues investigated potential environmental and health risks associated with orchard farming. For instance, the group looked at whether there is a risk associated with gardening on land that was previously an orchard – and contemplated whether actions should be taken to dissuade the practice.

"I am excited to implement the ideas from my summer research experience at PNNL to continue building STEM programs in my community,” Breslin said.

In addition to their research, Breslin and the other STARs fellows were involved in a number of facility tours and seminars aimed at helping them incorporate research into their classrooms. Each teacher also received a grant to purchase equipment and supplies for their classroom.

GW Middle School reopens for the year Sept. 4.

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