by Adventist Today News Team

Ophelia Barizo, who teaches science courses as part of the faculty at Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, Maryland, has been awarded an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She will serve for 11 months starting September 1 (2013) in the Emerging Frontiers in Research Innovation Division under the supervision of Rosemarie Wesson.
 
Just 27 educators science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) across the nation have been selected for this year’s Einstein Fellowships. Each will work in a United States government science agency for the year of their fellowship and then return to regular teaching positions. All of the educators are classroom teachers in elementary and secondary schools.
 
The program is administered by the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education, a nonprofit consortium, for the Federal Department of Energy. It was created by Congress in 1994 and includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), as well as NSF. The fellowships enrich the teaching of the educators and provide practical insight for science administrators regarding the STEM education of American young people.
 
Highland View Academy is the residential secondary school operated by the Chesapeake Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It currently has an enrollment of 116 students in grades nine through twelve. Barizo teaches biology, chemistry, environmental science and forensic science at the school, where she has been a teacher for more than 16 years. She also taught art classes for four years.
 
Barizo was recognized by the National Science Teachers Association last year as one of two teachers at the high school level honored for creating contemporary, effective STEM curriculum in the classroom, according to PASCO, one of the largest companies dedicated to educational technology. In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation her students use sensor technology to gather data on water quality, monitor dissolved oxygen, pH and salinity to learn about environmental issues in their community and develop possible solutions.
 
Barizo also won the 2012 Shell Science Lab Challenge in her region for the mushroom project her environmental science students do each year. She has raised some $750,000 in grant funding for the school’s science projects, technology, textbooks, field trips, native trees and perennials and professional development for teachers. She and her environmental science class are featured in Pearson Education's 2011 Environmental Science textbook. She has a master’s degree in chemistry from Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s in teaching from McMaster University in Canada.