Buxton Science Teacher from Bonny Eagle Middle School Selected as 2023 National STEM Scholar

Erin Hullinger

The National Stem Cell Foundation and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science have announced that Erin Hullinger, a science teacher from Bonny Eagle Middle School in Buxton, ME, is among ten teachers from eight states who have been selected to participate in the prestigious National STEM Scholar Program, a unique professional development program providing advanced STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) training, national network building and project support for middle school science teachers nationwide.

Created in partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University (WKU), the National STEM Scholar Program selects ten teachers each year from a national pool of applicants based solely on the description of a “big idea” Challenge Project the applicant would implement in their classroom if funds were available. Selected projects are chosen for maximum impact in middle school classrooms where research shows lifelong STEM career decisions are being made. STEM Scholars convene on WKU’s campus for a week of advanced STEM training and finalize their projects with input from their STEM Scholar class colleagues.

The 2023 National STEM Scholar class will be hosted by The Gatton Academy from May 29th to June 2nd on the campus of WKU in Bowling Green, KY. The other National STEM Scholars include:

  • Laura Cummings, Haleiwa, HI – Sunset Beach Elementary School
  • James “JJ” Frye, Leitchfield, KY – Grayson County Middle School
  • Emily Harer, St. Paul, MN – Global Arts Plus – Upper Campus
  • Patricia “Pati” Huntington, San Diego, CA – Farb Middle School
  • Jennifer “Jenny” McCall, Lexington, KY – Winburn Middle School
  • Michele Mitnitsky, Sanibel, FL – The Sanibel School
  • Teresa Robertson, Munfordville, KY – Munfordville Elementary School
  • Sarah StCyr, Sulphur, LA – W.W. Lewis Middle School
  • Kandice Taylor, Jackson, MS – Brinkley Middle School

Studies show that middle school students who become excited about science are the ones who will pursue STEM courses in high school and major in them at the technical and college level. At a pivotal time in decision-making that will open or close the door to opportunity, however, nearly 50% of 8th graders in America lose interest in pursuing the STEM-related subjects increasingly required for 21st-century jobs.

Now in its 8th year, there are 80 National STEM Scholars representing middle schools in 33 states. 91% teach in public schools, 41% teach in mid- to high-poverty schools and 38% teach in communities with a population under 15,000. A unique requirement of the program is the responsibility for STEM Scholars to share lessons learned with colleagues in their home schools, districts or states, magnifying impact over multiple classrooms and years. By June 2023, National STEM Scholars will have directly and indirectly impacted more than 104,000 middle school students in the U.S.

For more information about the National Stem Cell Foundation, visit their website: www.nationalstemcellfoundation.org.

For more information about The Gatton Academy their website: https://www.wku.edu/academy/