Category Archives: Science Education

News from Science Education

Montague Franklin with Jennifer Stalls

Education Graduate Leads Middle Schoolers in Conducting Nature Research

Jamaya Heath, Precious Wallace

(L to R): Jamaya Heath, Precious Wallace

By Crystal Baity
ECU News Services

Eighth-graders at C.M. Eppes Middle School hope to find out if a backyard weed actually contains some beneficial ingredients.

Their teacher, Jennifer Stalls, an East Carolina University alumna and graduate student in the College of Education, brought the real-world research question to her science classes as a participant in the Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development.

Frank Marr, Luke Daigle

(L to R): Frank Marr, Luke Daigle

Stalls is one of 42 educators from across North Carolina who completed a five-week summer research experience and two weeks of professional development as part of the annual program.

Stalls worked in the genomics and microbiology lab at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences with mentor Dr. Julia Stevens, who is studying the symbiotic relationship between invasive plants and bacteria in nitrogen fixing. The process is needed to convert gaseous nitrogen into forms that can be used by living organisms.

Stalls created a curriculum for her students to contribute to Stevens’ research by studying regional invasive species that could potentially replenish bacteria in crop fields.

Among the discoveries students are making is the notion that they like science.

Jason Harrell, Landen Congleton, Chad Langley

(L to R): Jason Harrell, Landen Congleton, Chad Langley

“I like that you can make so many things, so many discoveries with science. I like the medicine part of science,” said student Virginia Rahilly.

Stalls is one of six ECU alumni in the 2015-16 class of Kenan Fellows. Others and the schools where they teach are: Christopher Clark ’13, Chicod School in Pitt County; Taylar Flythe ’12, Ligon Magnet Middle School in Wake County; Denise Humphries ’93, Chinquapin Elementary School in Duplin County; Amy Kennedy ’07, Beulaville Elementary School in Duplin County; Julianna Martinez-Schultz ’10, Moore Square Magnet Middle School in Wake County.

Chloe Manning-Moore, Juliana Chaires

(L to R): Chloe Manning-Moore, Juliana Chaires

The Kenan Fellows Program was established in 2000 as the signature K-12 STEM education initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at N.C. State University.

Kenan Fellows are given opportunities for networking, professional growth and leadership development. For more information, visit

For the full article, please visit the ECU News Services Article Backyard Botantists


PIRATES Educators Work to Improve K-6 Science Education

GREENVILLE, N.C. (10/15/15) — On Saturday, October 10th fifteen College of Education alumni returned to East Carolina University to attend a workshop, “Systemic Science. It’s Elementary!” These teachers were among the first graduates of the newly developed Elementary Science Concentration at East Carolina University that focuses on the scientific content and knowledge needed for teaching science to K-6 students. Students enrolled in the concentration receive instructional strategies and specialized content knowledge within all domains of science.

The workshop was funded by a research start-up grant entitled PIRATES (Preparing and Inspiring Achieving Teaching Excellence in Science). The grant was awarded to Assistant Professor, Dr. Tammy D. Lee who spearheaded the development of this program in response to the need to improve STEM education in the early grades. PIRATES is designed to support the fifteen newly specialized science teachers over the course of three years. These beginning teachers will work with ECU science education faculty, ECU scientists, and North Carolina Museum of Natural Science staff to strengthen their knowledge and skills in systemic science education. The goal of the PIRATES program is to return these teachers to their classrooms and schools across North Carolina as elementary science education leaders.

Participant Ashley Barfield a teacher at Abbotts Creek Elementary School in Raleigh said, “The PIRATE grant will not only benefit me as a teacher but my teammates, students, and my school.”

“This grant will be a huge impact in my classroom because it will help my students to think critically about science in the real world by learning about systems,” added Amber Ellington a teacher at Falkland Elementary in Greenville.

Since the launch of the Elementary Science Concentration in the fall of 2012, enrollment has grown from seven students to over one hundred.

“This increased enrollment indicates the overwhelming interest of elementary pre-service teachers to become science teacher specialists,” said Lee.

For more information about East Carolina University’s Elementary Science Concentration or the PIRATES grant please contact Dr. Tammy D. Lee at

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PIRATES teachers participating in the “Systemic Science. It’s Elementary!” event on October 10. Pictured above from left to right: Kayla Sager, Christina Baik, Amber Ellington, Abby Wilkinson, Katherine Hart (red shirt), Ashley Barfield, Beth Wantz Kara Rouse, Danielle Alford, Rachel Fendrick Amanda Etheridge and Dail Berry. Kneeling: Bonnie Glass and Dr. Tammy Lee

Captain Arrrgh Headshot

From the TRC…3D Printing Now Available to ECU Community

It’s the first Thursday of the month and a new edition of From the TRC is published to highlight an instructional technology resource Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center (TRC) has to support the College of Education’s faculty and students. Our first post of the school year highlights a new service in Joyner Library, 3D printing!

Do you know how common 3D printers are in North Carolina’s public schools? If it’s not now, it will be soon. NC State’s College of Education is busily working toward equipping every middle school in Wake County with a 3D printer. ECU’s own Innovation Design Lab is hoping to outfit seven (7) middle schools with a 3D printer by the end of the school year, and many other K-12 schools around the state have already started their own 3D printing initiatives.

3D printing in K-12 and higher education is definitely a trend. As a result, the TRC has been busy preparing two 3D printers for the College of Education and the rest of the campus community to use. I am proud to announce that, as of today, Joyner Library’s Teaching Resources Center is now accepting print requests for our 3D printers!

To help guide the ECU community, we have also developed a library guide for those who are unfamiliar with 3D printing, but would like to know more. Joyner Library currently has two 3D printers available for use, a FlashForge Creator Pro and a ZPrinter 310 (.pdf). We are also busy prepping a Lulzbot TAZ 5 for future use. This library guide will help you:

Contact us for help by email,

Stay tuned for workshops and other professional development opportunities that involve 3D printing in K-12 and higher education in the months ahead.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Until next time…Dan Z. in the TRC.

Dail Berry

Elementary Science Alumna Receives WITN’s Teacher of the Week Award

Congratulations to Dail Berry who received this week’s Teacher of the Week award from WITN. Last May, Berry graduated from East Carolina University, receiving the Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Elementary Science. In the summer of 2014, she was an innovative camp counselor for the East Carolina Summer Science Camp. In her role as camp counselor, she created and implemented the popular camp session, Under the Sea. Ms. Berry also has experience working as a counselor for the 4H program in her hometown. After graduation, Berry decided to return home to Hyde County to start her teaching career. She is now teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Mattamuskeet Early College High School. When asked about her interest in science, she stated, “I fell in love with science while taking courses at ECU and now I want science to be my focus.”

Berry has already distinguished herself as a leader in her school by assisting with the Junior Beta club, a Co-advisor of the Envirothon team, and the Assistant Varsity Coach for the high school volleyball team. For the next three years, she will also be a part of a new research grant entitled PIRATES, Preparing and Inspiring Readiness for Achieving Teaching Excellence in Science. Dr. Tammy Lee, Assistant Professor in Science Education at ECU, noted: “The goal of this grant is to support beginning teachers that specialized in elementary science within their undergraduate education program at ECU.” The person nominating Berry for this award said, “She is an amazing teacher and the sweetest person. It’s her first year teaching and I’d love for her to get recognition for all her hard work and determination.”

Here is the link to the WITN interview with Berry:


MAEd-MIDG Student, Jennifer Stalls, Selected for Kenan Fellows Program

Jennifer StallsJennifer Stalls, sixth-grade science teacher at C. M. Eppes Middle School in Pitt County, is among 40 educators from across the state who have been selected as 2015-16 Kenan Fellows. Earlier this year, she was presented the NC Science Teachers Association’s District One Outstanding Science Teacher Award. A graduate of East Carolina University, Stalls is currently earning her Masters of Education-Middle Grades Education degree in ECU’s College of Education with a concentration in science.

Beginning in June, the new Kenan Fellows will spend five weeks of their summer learning and gaining experience from local experts in nanotechnology, financial education, renewable energy, genetics research, energy, and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

A core goal of the program is to develop outstanding teacher leaders who serve as advocates for excellence in education. The year-long fellowship begins with the summer internship and culminates with the development and implementation of cutting-edge educational curricula and programs designed by Kenan Fellows. These resources and programs are shared with other educators and used in classrooms, school systems, and communities across the state and beyond.

Educators selected for fellowships demonstrate proven leadership or leadership potential and are awarded a $6,000 stipend that includes travel expenses. Kenan Fellows also receive 80 hours of professional development divided into three professional advancement institutes that focus on leadership skills, community engagement, proven instructional strategies, and education policy. The Biogen Foundation is the premier sponsor of the institutes.

-Source: Pitt County Schools Website


Dr. Sharon Schleigh’s book recognized on the AAAS 2014 Best Science Books & Films List

Scientific Argumentation in BiologyDr. Sharon Schleigh, Science Education faculty in the MSITE program, has received recognition from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  The book she co-authored with Victor Sampson, Scientific Argumentation in a Biology: 30 Classroom Activities, was recognized as an outstanding science book in the category of life science, and listed in the AAAS 2014 Best Science Books & Films List. This National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) Press, 2013 book, is also a top selling NSTA book for middle school and high school teachers across the nation.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people, with a mission to promote science literacy to help ensure that all students receive a high-quality science education. AAAS was the first permanent organization formed to promote the development of science and engineering at the national level and to represent the interests of all its disciplines. The AAAS Science Books & Films (SB&F) Best Books Lists are published annually each January. SB&F Best Books Lists are a comprehensive list of highly recommended books, DVDs, and software for children and young adults reviewed over the previous year. Educators and scientists have come to rely on these lists as a definitive guide to the best science resources available for the library and classroom.

Being recognized by this leading international organization for supporting their mission is certainly a great honor for Dr. Sharon Schleigh and for the MSITE Department! We hear that she has another book in the works and we are looking forward to reading it as well. Congratulations to Dr. Sharon Schleigh of the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education for this recognition. And thank you Dr. Schleigh, for your impact on science education in our community!

COE Alumni - Teach. Lead. Inspire.

Pirate Alumni Recognized as Pitt County Beginning Teachers of the Year

James Ford, the NC Teacher of the Year, spoke to about 200 Pitt County Schools beginning teachers (teachers in their first three years) at the Beginning Teacher Rally on March 17th. For the first time, each school in the county recognized a Beginning Teacher of the Year. We would like to recognize the Pirates and the programs they were/are a part of:

  • A.G. Cox Middle School: Kelsey Bayse – Elementary Education – 5/2013
  • Ayden Elementary School: Danielle Carlsen – Elementary Education – 12/2012
  • Ayden Middle School: Kimberly Reikow
  • Ayden-Grifton High School: Tabitha Rawls
  • Belvoir Elementary School: Alyssa Champine – Elementary Education – 5/2013
  • Bethel School: Elaina Wingfield – Currently in Lateral Entry program at ECU for Middle Grades Social Studies
  • C.M. Eppes Middle School: Arianna Kinsey Received her BA in Psych from ECU, then returned as a Lateral Entry student to obtain her license
  • Chicod School: Christopher Clark – Art Education – 5/2013
  • Creekside Elementary School: Megan Jones
  • D.H. Conley High School: Cynthia Beall
  • E.B. Aycock Middle School: Brooke Edwards – Middle Grades Education Math & Social Studies – 5/2014
  • Eastern Elementary School: Sarah Garner – Elementary Education – 5/2013
  • Elmhurst Elementary School: Heather Timberlake (Askew) – Elementary Education – 5/2012
  • Falkland Elementary School: Alicia Zimmerman
  • Farmville Central High School: Christopher Scuron – Science Education – 5/2014
  • Farmville Middle School: Shelby Smith – Middle Grades Language Arts &  Social Studies – 5/2014
  • G.R. Whitfield School: Mary Harrison – Elementary Education – 12/2013
  • Grifton School: Skylar Mills – Elementary Education – 5/2014
  • H.B. Sugg Elementary School: Stephanie Haddock – Elementary Education – 5/2012, MAEd Read 5/2014
  • Hope Middle School: Ryan Stockdale – Middle Grades Language Arts &  Social Studies – 5/2013
  • J.H. Rose High School: Ariel Tyson (Langlois) – History Education – 5/2012
  • Lakeforest Elementary School: April E. Vernon – Birth-Kindergarten – 12/2012
  • North Pitt High School: John Dunning
  • Northwest Elementary School: Kendra Ohman
  • Pactolus School: Rakenya Johnson – Elementary Education – 5/2008
  • Ridgewood Elementary School: Amber Shivers – Elementary Education – 5/2014
  • Sam D. Bundy Elementary School: Beth Meeks
  • South Central High School: Stephen Allen
  • South Greenville Elementary School: Rachel Maw – Music Education – 8/2014
  • Stokes School: Elizabeth Dupree
  • W.H. Robinson Elementary School: Jacque Brown – Elementary Education – 5/2013
  • Wahl-Coates Elementary School: Ashley Keegan – Elementary Education – 12/2013
  • Wellcome Middle School: Tenisha Holloway-Powell – Elementary Education – 12/2011
  • Wintergreen Intermediate School: Jaclyn Summerlin – Elementary Education – 5/2012
  • Wintergreen Primary School: Alison Coldiron – Special Education – AC – 5/2013
Science Olympiad

Despite the Ice and Snow, Science Olympiad Ignites Young Minds for STEM Careers

On Saturday, February 21st, 2015, the Center for STEM Education hosted the annual Science Olympiad Tournament for northeastern North Carolina middle and high school students. North Carolina Science Olympiad is a nonprofit organization with the mission to attract and retain the pool of K-12 students entering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers in North Carolina. These tournaments are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of different hands-on, interactive, challenging and inquiry-based events that are well balanced between the various disciplines of biology, earth science, environmental science, chemistry, physics, engineering and technology. Notwithstanding the icy weather, this year we hosted 426 students (209 middle school & 217 high school) from 25 schools in the northeast region. There were also over 150 volunteers involved in the day’s activities from overseeing events/competitions, to managing registration. Faculty and students of the MSITE Department were well represented. Drs. Carmen Woodhall and Liz Doster were event leaders for Simple and Compound Machines,  while Ms. Tammy Lee and a plethora of her Elementary Science students created and ran the competition for Experimental Design. Ms. Bonnie Glass was the event leader for It Matters, where students display their knowledge of the properties and behaviors of different states of matter. Dr. Rhea Miles represented the MSITE Department by promoting program and certificate opportunities to the in-service teachers/team coaches and future MSITE students. The staff of the Center for STEM Education was the backbone of the tournament: Nancy Evans and Cheryl Miller, Allison Everett (photographer) and all the student workers at the Center! AWESOME job everyone!!!  It was truly a remarkable day for STEM!

COE ECU Excels

College of Education Students Honored for Academic Excellence

On February 20, 2015, fifty-two East Carolina University freshmen and full time transfer students with an intended Teacher Education major were honored during the College of Education ECU EXCELS event. This event was a part of the annual ECU EXCELS program that recognizes students who are first time, full-time freshman or transfer students who earned a 3.0 GPA or higher during the fall semester.

There were a total of one hundred and sixty-three guests were in attendance which included both honored students and their guests. Dr. Vivian Martin Covington, Executive Director of Teacher Education, brought words of recognition to the award recipients. Students received a Certificate of Academic Achievement, had an opportunity to interact with College of Education faculty, and were served light refreshments at the event.

The College of Education is delighted to congratulate the following students who attended the ceremony:

  • Ashley Algard
  • Cody Allen
  • Tionne Allen
  • Sarah Ayer
  • Jennifer Barkus
  • Christina Bianco
  • Sarah Bonin
  • Brooke Hill
  • Ryanne Hilliard
  • Bridget Boone
  • Caroline Bousman
  • Jacob Bowlus
  • Kelly Brady
  • Sawyer Brown
  • Meredith Campbell
  • Brittney Carter
  • Caitlyn Carter
  • Maurice Carter
  • Alecia Castellano
  • Alexis Corso
  • Melissa Creekmore
  • Airelle De Leon
  • Rachel Deans
  • Morgan Gerdes
  • Caitlyn Hannah
  • Christa Harris
  • Lauren Heath
  • Kathleen Henderson
  • Lillian Howie
  • Sarah Jackson
  • Cierra Jacoby
  • Michelle Kellett
  • Carly Levey
  • Amanda Lewis
  • Margaret Lombardo
  • Alexandra Marinello
  • Alyssa Mason
  • Kista May
  • Aaliyah McMillian
  • Erin Mullen
  • Kiana Owens
  • Megan Pickering
  • Alicia Ramos
  • Casey Shevlin
  • Emily Smith
  • Mariem Souissi
  • Kaylee Thomas
  • Samaria Trimble
  • Cherelle Vann
  • Jannie Walker
  • Reba Warren
  • Stephanie Whitehurst

Pictures from the event are available at online on the COE Excels Photo Album. Any questions regarding the ECU Excels event for the College of Education should contact Dr. Amy Shannon, Lead Coordinator of Academic Advising, at 252-328-0067 or

Dan Zuberbier

Meet Dan Zuberbier: A Great Resource for Students, Faculty, and Educators in Eastern NC

Recently, the Joyner Library made a new addition specifically to benefit the College of Education. Dan Zuberbier was hired as the Education and Instructional Technologies Librarian in the Teaching Resource Center.

Like many academic librarians, Dan Zuberbier didn’t follow a straight path to the profession. While finishing his B.A. in History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he was an assistant baseball coach at Edgewood College, a small private college down the street from the UW. “Baseball had been the center of my life for as long as I could remember,” he said. “Since I wasn’t playing ball any more it made sense to try and break into the coaching ranks.” Unfortunately being an assistant coach at an NCAA Division III school wasn’t enough to pay the bills, and he picked up odd jobs to make ends meet.

Eventually, Dan decided he needed a more stable career path. “Working the equivalent of two full-time jobs to pay the bills took the fun out of coaching baseball,” and reflected on what he wanted to get out of a career. “I needed a career that fulfilled my intellectual curiosities, and, at the same time, provided opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with young adults as I had been able to do with my baseball players. Teaching seemed like a natural fit.”

Setting his sights on becoming a high school history teacher, he enrolled in Pima Community College’s online Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Education Program, moved to Arizona to complete his student teaching, and earned his teaching license. Yet, four years later, his career took another unexpected turn. “I was having a hard time building up my students’ research skills, so I reached out to who I thought was our school librarian,” he said. “She kindly informed me she was the library clerk and had no experience teaching students research skills.”

Saying he was surprised his high school, the largest school in the district, didn’t have a certified library media specialist on staff is putting it mildly. To make matters worse, soon after their initial conversation, the library clerk broke her foot and was out of work for a week. Zuberbier stated, “Because she wasn’t a certified teacher-librarian, the school was under no obligation to hire a substitute to keep the library open in her absence. I was speechless.” After being shut out of their library for an entire week, Zuberbier wondered what else his students were missing out on because the school did not have a certified teacher-librarian.

He dove head-first into researching the role a library media specialist should play on a high school campus and petitioned the school board to fund the position. His request was denied. The Superintendent argued that because the school was only four years old, its collection was ‘still so new’ and students had access to so many online resources the school didn’t need a certified librarian. It took another year for Zuberbier’s efforts to succeed, and, in the meantime, he began earning his Master in Library and Information Science (MLIS) through UW-Milwaukee. He was also able to earn his library media specialist endorsement, and became his school’s first certified teacher-librarian.

“Soon after I started my MLIS program, I knew I couldn’t stop being a teacher. But, I also realized I wanted to give myself the opportunity to have an impact on the profession as an advocate for school libraries and through my work as an education librarian,” Zuberbier said. Which is why he considers himself fortunate to be working in East Carolina University’s Teaching Resources Center. “This is my dream job. To not only work with pre-service teachers by teaching them about instructional technologies and what they should expect out of their school library when they enter the workforce, but also serve educators throughout eastern North Carolina is an awesome responsibility.”

Zuberbier is currently working on developing workshops for students and faculty around the basic functions and lesson planning around the use of SMART Boards. He is also looking to collaborate with COE faculty to develop a series of workshops for students that will cover current and emerging K12 instructional technologies that will take place during the Fall semester. He currently resides in the TRC, room 2504, and can be reached through email,, or by phone, 328-0406.