Cedarcrest teacher brings practical application of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into the classroom and beyond

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, RSD
CHS’s new science teacher Jeffery Wehr brings extensive experience with science curriculum and education. Courtesy photo.
CHS science teacher, Jeffery Wehr, is new to the Riverview School District this year. However, his extensive experience with science curriculum and the process of bringing the STEM educational offerings into the classroom is most definitely not.

For the past nine years Mr. Wehr has been the science teacher at Odessa High School in Odessa, Washington. Prior to that his teaching experience not only existed in the science realm, but in the discipline of music education as well.

Jeff received his BAs in biology (with emphasis in both zoological and environmental sciences) and music from the University of Montana and his masters degree in science education from Montana State University.

Jeffery has also been the recipient of numerous awards and has participated in countless high level student/leadership activities, such as: Teacher of the Year State of Wash. 2011, Keynote Speaker for SBI Tech Camp, Letter of Congressional Commendation, National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium,  and has accompanied students to regional and international science fairs from 2000-2012, just to name a few.

Most recently Jeff had the opportunity to spend part of his summer vacation  attending a discerning research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  He worked with a team of scientists and other teachers studying new sources of bio-fuel energy prepping plants for use of the neutron detection systems at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source and its High Flux Isotope Reactor.

This work was part of an influential fellowship program arranged by the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board.

Mr. Wehr was one of only 20 teachers from across the country selected to participate in the research project at ORNL through the esteemed Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) fellowship program.

The Siemens College Board explains the goals of this extraordinary program: “STARs is part of the Siemens STEM Academy, a premier online professional development community for STEM educators, empowering and celebrating excellence in STEM education.

The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and their partners developed the STARs fellowship to invigorate teachers by immersing them in authentic research alongside some of the country’s brightest scientific minds. The hope is that these teachers will bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire their students to pursue STEM education and careers.”

“I am a research scientist at heart,”  shares Jeffery,”so it is an enormous honor to have been invited to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a STARs Fellow and now to share my experience with colleagues, students and student researchers.”

Mr. Wehr continued, “While at the ORNL, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Barbara Evans, of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences; Special Projects Division in the study of the cutting edge developments regarding the creation of innovative sources of bio-fuel energy.  In addition I and other STARs fellows participated in facility tours and seminars created to help us more effectively incorporate the overall research process into our classrooms. Each teacher also received a grant, to be used in the purchase of equipment and/or supplies for their classroom.”

Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation, shares, “Our hope is that Jeff’s experience at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the experiences of all his cohorts, will help inspire their students to become our country’s next generation of scientists and engineers.”

In closing, Mr. Wehr expressed, “ My experiences at ORNL and being involved in cutting edge research will definitely be applied toward my classroom laboratories as well as help facilitate the honors science research program.”

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