Bakersfield teacher selected for fellowship at Penn State University

Jodi Burns

Bakersfield Middle School science teacher Jodi Burns has been offered a summer fellowship at Penn State University’s Center for Nanoscale Science and the Department of Physics. The 2019 Interdisciplinary Materials Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program is a six-week, full-time residential research program on the campus in State College, Pennsylvania.

Information from Penn State says the RET program is designed to give teachers an opportunity to spend the summer at Penn State conducting hands-on research in physics, chemistry and engineering or materials science, and to take the research project back to their classrooms. Teachers selected for the fellowship will collaborate with Penn State research faculty members in their laboratories. Then they will develop a lesson plan based on their research project to implement during the following academic year so their students can directly profit from the teachers’ RET experience. 

In addition to their research activities, RET participants will attend a series of materials-related workshops providing enhanced opportunities for learning. At the end of the program, the fellowship teachers will present their projects in a mini-symposium.

Selection for the fellowship is highly competitive and is based on the quality of the teacher’s application and his or her research interest areas.  

Bakersfield superintendent Dr. Amy Britt said, “We are so proud of Mrs. Burns! This is a highly coveted opportunity that will result in increased student science learning in our district when she brings back the knowledge and skills achieved during this summer fellowship. No doubt, it will help all of our science classes as Mrs. Burns shares her experience and knowledge with her colleagues throughout the district. We are excited about this experience for Mrs. Burns and proud that she is so highly motivated to expand her content knowledge and skill set to benefit students here in Bakersfield.  

Britt added Bakersfield staff “constantly looks for ways to improve the skills and services they provide our students, ... looking for a way to improve.” As an example she cited two other Bakersfield teachers, Loreen Tefft and Amy Scott, who became “Google-certified” a couple of years ago. The Google training guided the teachers in engaging students in the Google platform, which “can be used to reduce paper consumption and improve efficiency in classroom operations,” Britt said.  

She also praised Bakersfield faculty members who “give up numerous off-duty hours to support our students in clubs, extracurricular activities and all kinds of student endeavors. These folks work hard to make Bakersfield R-IV School District the best place to provide an excellent education for every student.”  

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