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Chemistry Department Hosted Students’ Most Impactful Science Teachers

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Posted on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Last weekend, Westminster College chemistry and biochemistry students recognized the positive impact of their high school science teachers by inviting them to campus for an awards dinner. 

“My high school chemistry teacher, Mrs. Jane Coburn, did so much to inspire me to get to where I am today,” said Erin Scott, senior chemistry major. “I was so fortunate to have awesome teachers who cared so much about their students and I was proud to be able to honor her through Westminster.”

A group of 13 juniors and seniors honored their teachers with a certificate of appreciation, a personal letter, and dinner. Several students presented their undergraduate research, the chemistry club provided a demonstration, and the Science in Motion program provided information about teacher resources. Dr. Helen Boylan, chemistry professor and environmental science coordinator, presented information about Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF-AT) quizzing, a technique for quizzing, exams and group work that is based on principles of learning and memory using a lottery-like scratch off sheet.

“This was just a fantastic event,” said Dr. Sarah Kennedy, assistant professor of chemistry. “It was truly a special evening. Westminster students were able to talk with their former teachers for several hours and share a meal with them.”

Teachers who attended included: Mr. Brad Bernas of Kiski Area High School in Vandergrift, Pa.; Mr. Kris Chapman of Greenville Area High School in Greenville, Pa.; Mrs. Jody Christophe of Lincoln High School in Ellwood City, Pa.; Mrs. Jane Coburn of Reynolds High School in Greenville, Pa.; Mr. Douglas Cook of Hempfield Area High School in Greensburg, Pa.; Mr. Tod Elford of Slippery Rock High School in Slippery Rock, Pa.; Mrs. Christina Frank of Montour High School i

n McKees Rocks, Pa.; and Mr. Rob Keith of DuBois Area High School in DuBois, Pa.

Honoring in absentia included: Ms. Carla Andrews of Cameron County High School in Emporium, Pa.; Mr. Scott Baylor of Elizabethtown Area High School in Elizabeth, Pa.; Ms. Janet Bonislawsky of Quigley Catholic High School in Baden, Pa.; Ms. Lonnie Schurman of Medina High School in Medina, Ohio; and Mrs. Nancy Van Dyne of Cambridge High School in Cambridge, Ohio.

“High school teachers do not receive enough credit for all the support they give the students, that’s why I thought this was a very unique experience to give them the honor they deserve,” said Caroline Kostishak, senior biochemistry major.

For more information about the chemistry or biochemistry department, or with questions about this event, contact Kennedy at or 724-946-6289.