Current news

Current news

OMRF names Fleming Scholars

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has selected 13 Oklahoma high school and college students as Sir Alexander Fleming Scholars for 2018.

The 63rd class of scholars will spend eight weeks working with OMRF scientists on specific research projects covering subjects such as autoimmune disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. At the conclusion, the scholars will author scientific papers and deliver presentations to OMRF’s research staff.

The 2018 Fleming Scholars are: Fares Alrefai, Tulsa, University of Tulsa; Matthew Anderson, Durant, Oklahoma Baptist University; Veronica Chamberlain, Fort Towson, Southeastern Oklahoma State University; Azhia Contreras, Edmond, Edmond North High School; Phillip Douglas, Edmond, Cornell University; Dawson Haworth, Fairview, and Nathan Herndon, Minco, both from Oklahoma State University.

Also: Benjamin Houston, El Reno, El Reno High School; Rachel Jordan, Oklahoma City, Texas Christian University; Cheryl Kalapura, Tulsa, Cornell University; McKayla Muse, Edmond, University of Central Oklahoma; Oloruntoun Ogunbase, Oklahoma City, Putnam City West High School; and Winston Scrambler, Oklahoma City, Heritage Hall High School.

OESE congratulates the winners.

Teacher externship program preparing for summer

The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s teacher externship program pairs teachers with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)-related businesses during the summer.  As it expands the program, the state is looking for STEM-related businesses interested in offering paid on-the-job teacher externships, reports the Ada News.

“Now we’re in a position to think about the summer of 2018,” said Dr. Robyn Miller, deputy superintendent for educator effectiveness and policy research. Miller said the program helps teachers make their classrooms come alive, and students benefit because they get a chance to explore various career paths.

Teachers may apply to the program from January through May. The externships take place during the summer break, and OSDE and participating businesses follow up with participating teachers when they return to the classroom in the fall.

Young inventors win plaudits

Nearly 200 young inventors in grades K-12 took part in the 29th annual Oklahoma Student Inventors Exposition on Feb. 20 at Rose State College. Young inventors exhibited their problem-solving and critical thinking skills by creating inventions that solve everyday problems.  The Julian Taylor Grand Prize went to Garrett Finchum, a fifth-grade student at Poteau Upper Elementary School, for his Safe-T-Desk. The invention features Kevlar lined panels attached to a student’s desk that can be removed and used as a shield in an active shooter situation.  The wackiest invention award was won by Jojo Hernandez from Kaiser Elementary in Oklahoma City. His invention was the Remote Control Toilet Seat Warmer. Other inventions included the Exo Neuro Stimulator, the Kid Tracker, the Curve Alert and the Trash Taxi. All participants received certificates and medals.  OESE congratulates all the participants.

Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year

Johnnie Keel, a teacher at Truman Elementary School in Norman, is the 2018 Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year.

Keel switched careers from an office job in the oil business 22 years ago. Today, she is the gifted resource coordinator at Truman, which includes providing enrichment programs to all third-, fourth- and fifth-graders as well as weekly enrichments to more than 146 students in the gifted and talented program. She also teaches advanced math class for fourth- and fifth-graders.  More at NewsOK.

Teens may now apply for the Science Museum Oklahoma apprenticeships  

Oklahoma City metro-area students entering seventh through 12th grades can spend the summer increasing science literacy, developing job skills and having fun with the Teen Apprentice Program at Science Museum Oklahoma.  Apprentices may assist in facilitation and activities including day-to-day operation of exhibits, camp activities, production of stage performances and educational programming, and more.  Applications are available on SMO’s website and will close on March 16.

Devon awards Science Giants to Oklahoma Schools

Devon awarded science grants totaling $50,000 to assist with STEM education at West Field Elementary and Deer Creek Intermediate schools in Edmond and Crooked Oak High School in Oklahoma City. West Field Elementary received $25,000 to create two Nature Explore outdoor classrooms for grades K-2. Each outdoor classroom will have a sand and water center, a building area, a nature art center and tools such as magnifying glasses and tape measures.  Congratulations to the schools and a big thank you to Devon from OESE.  More at the Edmond Sun.

OESE congratulates Jerrod Lundry

Jerrod Lundry, agricultural educator at Fairview Public Schools, is one of only six individuals nationwide who received the National Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award. The award was presented at the 2017 National Association of Agricultural Educators annual convention in Nashville.  The National Agriscience Teacher of the Year award recognizes teachers who have inspired and enlightened their students through engaging and interactive lessons in the science of agriculture.  Lundry is determined to increase the science literacy of his agriculture students. He partners with the bio-med teacher at the local technology center to encourage students to conduct scientific experiments that are related to agriculture. These students have won state and national awards for their Agriscience Fair projects.  More at Enid News and Eagle.

Evolution Weekend events in Oklahoma

Hundreds of congregations all over the country and around the world are taking part in Evolution Weekend, February 9-11, 2018, by presenting sermons and discussion groups on the compatibility of faith and science.  Participating churches in Oklahoma include:  Cameron Campus Ministry, Lawton, OK, The Rev. Galeda M. Jones, The Rev. Montie D. Jones; Westminster Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City, OK, The Rev. Dr. Paul J. Kirbas; and Unity Church of Christianity, Tulsa, OK, The Rev. Mary Anne Harris.

Oklahoma Academy of Science Collegiate Academy Awards (2017)

OESE congratulates the winners on the Collegiate Academy Awards at the 106th Technical meeting of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, held Rogers State University.  Winners were Maranda Robin Clymer, Nathanial J. Torres, Steven D. Hartson, Janet Rogers, Khadija A. Abdulhafid, and John E. Gustafson , Gunner Parent and April Nesbit, Haylee Story, Sonya Ross, Anna Parakevopoulos, Karl Roeder, and Diane Roeder, Shi Rui Yeoh, Tiara Travis, Paul Cook, Samuel Lawrence, and Nesreen Alsbou, Matt Broge, J Grimm, C Soden, K Karki, C Biles, A Howard, and B Bruton, Amjad Barghouthi, Mohamed Afify and Nesreen Alsbou, Joshua C. Hardage, Yilin Yu, and Courtney M. Karner, Billy Andrew, Whitney Hall, H. Mahmud, G. Maiti, A. Mille, and A. Ghosh.  The students represented East Central University, Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Cameron University, University of Central Oklahoma, Duke University, Stephenson Cancer Center, and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.  Congratulations to all.

More info at the OAS web site.

Noble Research Institute scientist recognized as a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher 

Michael Udvardi, the Ardmore institute’s chief scientific officer, recently was recognized as a 2017 Highly Cited Researcher and was among the top 1 percent of science and social science researchers in the world and one of only 207 plant and animal scientists honored.

Udvardi’s research uses plant functional genomics to study how plants obtain and use nitrogen for growth in agriculturally-significant crops, especially legumes and grasses.

Researchers were ranked by their number of times their published findings were cited in journals or by other researchers.

“Publishing our research is a crucial aspect of what we do as scientists,” Udvardi said. “We need to share the results of our research so the science community as a whole can continue to advance and better understand plant and animal biology and its interaction with the environment as we strive to provide solutions to great agricultural challenges.”

Oklahoma native among three Americans to earn Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine

Oklahoma City native Michael Rosbash along with Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael W. Young won the $1.1 million prize for their work on finding genetic mechanisms behind circadian rhythms, which adapt the workings of the body to different phases of the day, influencing sleep, behavior, hormone levels, body temperature and metabolism.

They “were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings,” the Nobel citation said.

“Circadian dysfunction has been linked to sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, cognitive function, memory formation and some neurological diseases,” according to a Nobel background report.

The awardees’ work stems back to 1984, when Rosbash and Hall, both at Brandeis, along with Young isolated the “period gene” in fruit flies. Hall and Rosbash found that a protein encoded by the gene accumulated during the night and degraded during daytime. A decade later, Young discovered another “clock gene.”

The work was done using fruit flies.

Teaching award finalists from Oklahoma

The state Education Department has announced four Oklahoma finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching at the secondary level.

The finalists are Telannia Norfar, math teacher at Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City; Cheryl Brannum, math teacher at Canadian Valley Technology Center in Yukon; Megan Cannon, director of science and engineering for the state Education Department; and Julie Klingensmith, math teacher at Norman High School.

The awards are the highest honors given by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. National recipients represent all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Finalists must have demonstrated a mastery of math and science instruction and effective use of students assessments to improve learning. Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary teachers.

Congratulations to all and good luck!

OESE congratulates Oklahoma Teacher of the year, Donna Gradel

Donna Gradel was named 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year on Sept. 19 in a ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.  She teaches science at Broken Arrow High School in Broken Arrow Public Schools. She has been an educator for 29 years and has held her current position for 21 years.  Her statement in her application:  “A teacher is not only an integral part of the educational community but can be a powerful model of good citizenship throughout his or her local and extended communities.”

“Donna understands the true potential of each of her students,” said Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “She differentiates instruction to meet the needs of each individual, challenges them to solve real-world problems, then goes one step further by modeling opportunities to implement their innovations to make a difference in the lives of people in Oklahoma and across the globe.”

Congratulations Ms. Gradel from OESE.

OESE congratulates Julie Angle

OESE Board member Julie Angle received a $599,652 National Scieence Foundation grant to focus on undergraduate research experiences for future science educators.

Angle will work with co-principal investigators and fellow OSU faculty Donald French, Andrew Doust and Carissa Ramming to address the challenge of providing undergraduate research experiences for all students pursuing a bachelor of science degree with an option in teacher certification at the secondary level.

The model provides them with extensive mentoring by faculty and graduate students from multiple science and engineering disciplines and colleges across the university. Research mentors will be offered quality professional development designed to deepen mentors’ understanding of the K-12 science classroom and skills in transitioning their STEM research to that environment.

OESE congratulates Bob Melton

OESE Board Member Bob Melton received the Jack Renner Distinguished Service to Oklahoma Science Education Award from the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association.  The award is presented annually to “individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science education in Oklahoma”.  The award was presented at the OSTA’s annual conference on June 8.  Congratulations, Bob!  More at NCSE and National Association of Biology Teachers newsletter.


Some recent blog posts from OESE Past President Stan Rice

Science and Humanities in the Writing of Lucretius

We can do it but we won’t

Altruism:  Don’t We Wish

The Cultural Evolution of Mimicry and Deception

Stan’s Darwin YouTube channel

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