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District Chemistry Teacher Receives Prestigious Award

Congratulations to Shea Wickelson, a chemistry teacher at Salt Lake Center for Science Education!  Ms. Wickelson was recently awarded the prestigious James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching.

This award is given to teachers who

  • show excellence in their quality of teaching;
  • have the ability to challenge and inspire students;
  • participate in extracurricular work in chemistry, including science fairs, science clubs, and activities that stimulate the interest of young people in chemistry and related sciences; and
  • demonstrate a willingness to keep up-to-date in the field, as evidenced by pursuit of a higher degree in chemistry, enrollment in refresher courses and summer institutions, regular attendance at scientific meetings, and other means of self-improvement.  

In her nomination, Wickelson wrote, “I teach in an intentionally desegregated school and choose not to track my chemistry classes, which means I have students who will be the first in their families to go to college sitting alongside students whose parents are science professors. Creating a classroom community where all students are challenged, engaged, and afforded access to rich curriculum requires consistent attention to differentiation. I love the challenge of creating investigative units that allow students from different backgrounds to equitably solve problems together.”

Wickelson's colleague, Dr. Niki Hack, shared, “Shea’s ability to challenge and inspire students is evidenced by the preponderance of students who graduate from her school and major in chemistry and related sciences. At a school where the student body is diverse in race and socioeconomic status, it is significant that many of these graduates are female and the first in their family to attend college.”