Dr. Scott Diamond, who received his teacher certification at Georgetown College in 2010, has been named a regional winner in the Shell Science Lab Challenge, a competition for middle and high school science teachers. He is a Lexington (KY) science teacher at The Learning Center at Linlee (TLC), which is a big winner as well.
Diamond said that The Learning Center will receive $3,000 – a welcomed prize that will send him and another Linlee teacher to another regional in Louisville, pay for NSTA books and $1,000-worth of improvements for Linlee’s science lab.
Diamond, who was already a PhD and an Assistant Professor of Physiology with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, was one of four products of Georgetown College’s Graduate Education alternative certification program profiled in the 2011 Winter/Spring edition of Insights magazine. At the time he was a teacher at St. John’s School in Georgetown.
According to a press release by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the Shell Oil Company-sponsored competition encouraged teachers (grades 6-12), who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. Diamond is one of 17 regional winners named, from which five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.
“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, VP, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Manager, Social Investment. “The Shell Science Lab Challenge strives to support inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science through active learning that emphasizes questioning, data analysis, and critical thinking. Exemplary science teaching is more relevant when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”
Diamond and the staff at TLC are striving to keep at-risk students in school and prepare them for the future, whether they go on to college or enter the workplace after graduation. Only two years old, the public alternative school’s science equipment needs are multifold: hoods, electrical outlets, heat sources, and more. The science lab is furnished with many donated items including glassware, microscopes, and aquarium tanks; some additional equipment like distillation and filtration apparatuses and centrifuges is built by students, providing them with a better understanding of the equipment and the underlying concepts. In class, TLC students take on the roles of scientists to investigate real-life problems. Through these hands-on labs, TLC staff members help students discover interests and aptitudes they may have never known.