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Nicholls Assistant Professor of chemistry, Dr. Sarah Bergeron was named the Louisiana Science Teachers Association William Craig Outstanding University Educator Award winner for 2023. The LSTA instituted this award to honor the memory of the late Dr. William W. Craig, professor of geology at the University of New Orleans, and seeks to recognize university faculty members who, like Dr. Craig, have reached out to K-12 educators and made a difference in their careers.
Awardees receive a $100 gift certificate, plaque, acknowledgement within the LSTA newsletter, and recognition at an awards ceremony held in conjunction with the LATM/LSTA Baton Rouge conference. Dr. Sarah Bergeron and Nicholls Physics Professor Dr. Chadwick Young, last year’s awardee, both received their awards at the conference on Nov. 2. Former BTNEP Director Susan Testroet-Bergeron, Dr. Begeron’s mother, was awarded the Claudia Fowler Distinguished Service to Science Education Lifetime Achievement Award from LSTA on the same night.
Dr. Bergeron began teaching at Nicholls in 2020. During her time at Nicholls, she has made connections with nearby K-12 and higher education institutions by working as an outreach coordinator for the chemistry department, taking science demonstrations to schools through the Nicholls Chemistry Roadshow and hosting Nicholls Chemistry Field Days to bring students to campus. Both events are designed to engage students in STEM and demonstrate relevant educational and professional opportunities.
In support of local K-12 teachers, Dr. Bergeron worked on a collaborative project to build a 3D Molecular Modeling Lending Library for area science teachers to check out models for their classrooms. The models are available for checkout from the Nicholls Ellender Memorial Library at no cost to teachers. In addition, training for utilizing the models was provided to 77 teachers, from 39 different schools, in 12 different parishes, ranging from elementary to high school teachers.
“I am tremendously honored to be nominated for the William Craig Outstanding Educator Award. Throughout my education and career, I have been under the tutelage of outstanding educators,” said Dr. Bergeron. “I strive to be a teacher as inspiring and engaging as they were for me, but I also endeavor to support the people providing foundational education to our community: K-12 educators. Through our combined efforts in education, we can promote excellence in scientific education and provide a quality education for all students.”
Dr. Bergeron received her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She then went on to complete her PhD in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Iowa, studying actin biochemistry. She taught in a secondary education science classroom for seven years, while completing her Master of Art in Secondary Science Education before moving to higher education.
Dr. Bergeron is also the managing editor of “The Proceedings of the Louisiana Academy of Sciences.” The primary intent of the publication is to publish research papers and critical reviews of problems in the fields of biological sciences, physical sciences, and science education primarily pertaining to Louisiana and the southern United States. The journal launched their first all digital, open access volume last year at www.laacademy.org/publications.html.
To schedule a Nicholls Chemistry Field Day or Roadshow for a class or school, submit a request here. To learn more about Nicholls Chemistry and Physical Sciences, visit https://www.nicholls.edu/chemistry/.