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2007/2008 ARMADA Master Teachers

My name is Kathy Couchon and I am a science teacher at Narragansett High School in Narragansett, Rhode Island. I teach freshman and sophomore students in physical science, earth science and biology. I am excited to continue my partnership with the URI Office of Marine Programs in my second stint in the ARMADA project.

This spring I took part in a research experience as part of the two-week engineering trials of the AGAVE (Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition) cruise to the Arctic Ocean. I sailed aboard the Swedish Icebreaker, the Oden, for the second time, the first on the ACEX expedition during the summer of 2004. During these AGAVE trials, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution tested newly developed unmanned underwater vehicles that will be used later this summer to explore hydrothermal vents on the slow-spreading Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic. The project is one of more than 200 research and education projects comprising the International Polar Year, a two-year international program that involves more than 1000 scientists working in the Arctic and Antarctic. It had always been my dream to take part in an oceanographic expedition; it is a great opportunity for me to again be interacting with world-class scientists exploring as-yet uncharted waters. I have the unique opportunity to be able to bring this cutting-edge science research back into the high school classroom in an effort to inspire and motivate my students to pursue a career in science, engineering or technology.

My name is Sam Fuerst. I teach at Northern High School in Durham, North Carolina. I teach Earth/environmental and astronomy in grades 9-12. I have taught for twenty years in the Durham system. Prior to coming into teaching, I was a petroleum geologist. As a geologist, I am interested in giving my students as much real world data and real world experiences as I possibly can in the earth sciences. It has been over 30 years since I was in graduate school and I last went out on a scientific research vessel, and that was in the Caribbean. I am really excited about the opportunity to visit and explore the Arctic and to share my experiences with my students.

Hi! I'm Mark Goldner, and I teach 7th and 8th grade science at the Heath K-8 Elementary School in Brookline, Massachusetts. I have been teaching middle school and high school science for the past 15 years, but when I am not in the classroom I enjoy spending time with my wife, Kelly, and our two kids (Leah-age 6 and Ezra-age 1). We enjoy hiking, swimming, bike riding and sailing. On weekends and in the summer we are often found on the coast of Maine. I also play the trumpet and I love jazz.

In my classes I stress the importance of developing a strong and positive relationship with the natural world, and that the best way to learn science is by doing real scientific investigations. The ARMADA project will give me a chance to participate in scientific research myself; I will be joining the Drake Passage project, which will be investigating the effects of climate change on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Going to the Drake Passage fulfills my dream of traveling to the polar regions, and I look forward to significantly deepening my understanding of oceanography and climate. I am excited about the fact that this project is quite interdisciplinary. Connecting my experiences back to the classroom will help students understand the complexity of our climate and ocean systems, and see firsthand how this type of research is conducted.

Hi - I'm Morgan Hardwick-Witman and I teach biology & aquatic science in Smithfield, Rhode Island. I love boats and before teaching high school, I sailed with Woods Hole's S.E.A. students on a 125' schooner bound for Newfoundland (coolest stop was on Sable Island graveyard of the Atlantic). We brought up some neat stuff in our deep trawls. Before that, I did boat based research on hydrographic cruises out of UNH in the Gulf of Maine & Great Bay Estuary. Moving south to Northeastern Univ., I ran the East/West: 3 Seas Marine Biology program along the shores of the Pacific Northwest, Caribbean & New England. I like to row, sail, garden, bird watch and I love to read about polar expeditions. I'm really looking forward to recharging my interests in marine research and getting back out to sea. I love to travel and have lived on every continent except Antarctica and Asia and enjoy sharing these experiences with my students. Our high school has recently partnered with Dr. Bob Ballard's Immersion Program and have visited his research crew at the Inner Space Program at URI so incorporating ocean research into lessons for our teachers and students is widely and enthusiastically supported.

For my ARMADA Project research experience, I will be sailing along the Florida Keys and studying larval dispersal of coral reef fishes in a comprehensive effort to link population connectivity in hydrodynamic models in marine systems. P.I. Su Sponaugle and spouse Robert Cowen and other co P.I.s T. Lee, C. Paris & V. Kourafalou are all out of University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences. Sounds fascinating...

My name is Mark Harris, I am a high school biology teacher in Layton, Utah. I teach 6 classes of Biology (mainly 10th grade students). I am a returning ARMADA teacher. I was very fortunate to be involved in the 2006 ARMADA program. I was able to participate in the STAR 2006 cruise. This incredible research experience was estimating dolphin and whale populations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. I also assisted in capturing free-swimming pelagic sea turtles and giant Humboldt Squid. After my experience I was able to organize and implement a research oceanography experience for all 10th grade biology students (600 of them) using the Great Salt Lake as our laboratory setting.

I was given a second opportunity with the ARMADA Project 2007. This research experience had me going to the Antarctica peninsula and catching Antarctic Ice Fish and Tagging Crabeater Seals. Keep in mind, I was down there in the dead of winter doing this. Getting on an ice flow in the Antarctic Ocean and wrestling a 600 pound seal is one of the wildest things I have done in my life. I have not quite figured out how I will incorporate this experience into my classroom but it is sure entertaining watching me wrestle that seal.

My current passion is being a research field scientist. Measuring corals in Jamaica, catching free-swimming turtles in the Pacific, and tagging seals in Antarctica are all projects I have been involved in. I have found the more I do, the more interested my students become in science.

Other interests I have, include, skiing the fine Utah powder, team roping on the CRC rodeo circuit (I am the heeler, my partner catches the horns and I catch the 2 hind feet for a timed event), and sailing, I have a 25 foot sailboat in San Carlos, Mexico that I wish I could get to more often.

The ARMADA experience for me has been surreal. I have had opportunities that only do come once in a lifetime. I would like to thank the ARMADA Project for enhancing my teaching beyond traditional limits and most of all, my students getting to be the benefactors of these incredible experiences. I really do believe they think science is fun.

My name is Beth Jewell. Currently I am teaching oceanography and biology at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County Virginia. I have taught for over 20 years. If I am in, on, or by the ocean I am a happy camper. Being a life long learner, I am often found at conferences, workshops or working with others to learn more and stay "current". My life's journeys have taken me to the Bering Sea as a NOAA Teacher at Sea participant, to Japan as a Fulbright Master Teacher and to NOAA's Office of Education as an Einstein Fellow. In my spare time I enjoy diving, beachcombing and photography. I also love traveling and meeting new people.

I am eager to expand my knowledge about the ocean from my ARMADA experience and bringing real world research back to my classroom.

My name is Heather Judkins. I am a 14th year high school marine science teacher in Pinellas County, Florida. I received my undergraduate degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island and then moved to the "Sunshine State". I began teaching environmental science and marine science while working on my Masters Degree in Science Education. I am currently tackling my Doctorate Degree in Marine Science at the University of South Florida and hope to complete my work in 2008.

I am constantly on the lookout for quality marine science education workshops and the ARMADA Project provides a unique forum for teachers to learn side-by-side with scientists in the field. I am excited to see what hands-on activities I will be able to share with my classes as well as what knowledge I can gain from such a great opportunity.

When free time is available, I love attending sporting events with friends, shopping, spending time with family, and working out. I look forward to the experience I will have with the ARMADA Project and can't wait to get started!

My name is Christine Kirch. I grew up in a small mill town in upstate New York. I have always liked being in and around water and was fortunate to live near Lake Ontario. However, when I first saw the ocean, I was fourteen, I fell in love. My first ocean visit was to Cape Cod. I can still visualize many parts of that vacation.

I lived and taught in my small mill town until 1984. However, most of my vacations involved a trip to the ocean to get my "fix" of salt water, salt air, and seafood. In 1984 I moved to Rhode Island and in 1985 was hired by the Town of West Warwick. By 1990 I was teaching at West Warwick High School. I had been involved for a year with Project Oceanology in Groton, Connecticut at that time. From the knowledge I obtained in this project, I instituted a course in Oceanology at the high school. From my vast array of research experiences, including my ARMADA experience, I was given the latitude to institute a second level Oceanology this year, 2006-2007. Plus, I am involved in writing lesson plans for the National Marine Fisheries in Narragansett, RI. The lesson plans deal with the concept of the Ocean as global, consisting of many Large Marine Ecosystems.

My teaching philosophy involves the idea that there is always more to know. Thus, my quest is to be a life long learner. I have been involved with many projects that involve the ocean and the ARMADA project is certainly one of the best. The mentoring piece of the ARMADA experience had more of an impact than I ever could have imagined. My first year mentee said she would have left the field of teaching if I had not been there to work with her. The whole ARMADA experience can rejuvenate an experienced/old teacher's soul and passion for teaching.

Hi! I'm Louise McMinn and I am an eighth grade Earth science teacher at Scofield Magnet Middle School in Stamford, Connecticut. I have taught middle school students for 27 years, 13 years as a special education teacher and 14 years as a science teacher. Scofield is a science and technology magnet school in a small urban district.

I am passionate about science education and welcome the opportunity to participate in field research. I currently involve my students in as many field experiences as I can, working with Soundwaters, a local watershed education agency, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT and Girl's Incorporated of Southwestern CT. I try to reach out to the girls in my school, encouraging them to learn to love science and to consider careers that may be new to them. The ARMADA experience will allow me to show and give first-hand accounts of life in the field!

I am Janet Miele. I teach chemistry and chemistry 2 in grades ten to twelve at Woonsocket High School in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Woonsocket is the northernmost city in our tiny state. I also serve as the secondary science supervisor at both the high school and Woonsocket Middle School, which is the largest middle school in New England.

I am an avid quilter, enjoy cooking and doting on my four year old grandson, Aiden who lives in northern California.

I hope that the ARMADA Project will provide me the experiences that will help me to make science "real" for my students. Because Rhode Island is called the "Ocean State", this opportunity will give me the knowledge to present information that may have direct application to our own Narragansett Bay. To be able to show them how what they learn in the classroom has applications out in the world would be a powerful tool and would enrich the teaching and learning in my classroom.

Greetings! I'm Caitlin Munroe, a Montessori Elementary Teacher in a public school in Southwest Colorado. I have been teaching for 12 years in various places around the country; Rhode Island, Chefornak, Alaska (a tiny Yu'pik Eskimo community on the Bering Sea coast), Rocky Ridge and TeecNosPos, Arizona (both on the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona). I also spent 7 years as a stay-at-home working mother to my 3 children.

Inspiring children to explore their world through exploration, writing, art, reading and research is my passion! I truly believe that the way to change the future is to work with today's children and my experience with the ARMADA Project will allow me to further that work. Living in the High Desert on the Colorado Plateau provides my students and I ample opportunity to explore our unique bioregion and the people who have made their homes here, both past and present. We have conducted studies of Ancestral Puebloan peoples and their relationship with the local environment, as well as relations of modern people with our land.

The research experience aboard the AMUNDSEN will allow me to bring home a deeper understanding of current scientific research in our world's oceans, tie it to our local water issues, and explore global climate issues that impact all of us.

Hi, my name is Megan O'Neill. I teach aquascience and environmental science (grades 10-12) at Fairhope High School in Fairhope, Alabama. Fairhope is a lovely town located on Mobile Bay, which lends many resources for science studies. For my environmental science classes, I helped spearhead a project called Baldwin County Grasses in Classes. This program began three years ago after the hurricanes have damaged many ecosystems along the Gulf Coast of Mexico. The students raise beach dune plants in a nursery on campus and plant them in areas of need for habitat restoration in our area. My aquascience classes manage and grow tilapia, koi and bluegill in 880 -gallon recirculating aquaculture systems. When I am not taking care of animals or plants at school, I enjoy taking care of my own! I have two Tennessee Walking Horses that I trail ride and one dog. I also enjoy reading for a book club with friends and traveling. I also attained my National Board Certification this past year, which was quite time consuming!

I am very excited about my ARMADA opportunity to the Arctic. I am a firm believer that once an educator stops learning, they should just stop! Therefore, I continue to stay involved with current science research through workshops and projects. I not only pass this on to my students, but also members of the Environmental Science Club and National Ocean Sciences Bowl Team, which I sponsor. I look forward to working with the lead scientist, Angelo Camerlenghi of the University of Barcelona and Catalina Sureda, a Spanish teacher. Being a part of the European International Polar Year research activities and collaborating with teachers across the globe will be a phenomenal experience that I cannot wait to share with my students.

My name is Jason Pavlich and I am in my eighth year of teaching oceanography and chemistry at Red Hook Central High School in Red Hook, New York. Outside of the classroom, I happily spend most of my time coaching soccer and traveling with my wife Brandy. This December, however, I will be heading someplace I have never been before. I will be sailing the ice-packed Arctic Ocean for three weeks on the Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker Amundsen. As part of the International Polar Year (IPY), I will be working with scientists from the University of Manitoba on the Circumpolar Flaw Lead Study ( I will be primarily working with team numbers 6 and 8, studying the air-sea exchange of greenhouse gases and conducting concentration studies of halogenated organic compounds and trace metals such as mercury. As teachers, we are always searching for ways to bring our subjects to life for our students, and the ARMADA Project will provide a perfect opportunity.

Hi, my name is Kimberly Pratt. I am a fifth grade math/science core teacher from Alvarado Elementary in Union City, California. This will be my ninth year of teaching fifth grade and I love fifth graders!

My passion is marine science and sharing my love of the ocean with others. I have studied whales and dolphins off the California Coast and have done hydrographic studies in the Bahamas with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Teacher at Sea program. Recently, I went back to school to complete pre-requisites for graduate school in marine biology. When I am not teaching, studying or visiting the ocean; I like to read, hike, camp, cook, visit the Sierras and be with my family and friends.

I am really looking forward to sailing with ARMADA and supporting Dr. Jerry Prezioso with his hydrographic and ecosystem research on-board the ALBATROSS IV, on the continental shelf from Cape Hatteras up to Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine. My hope is to learn more about plankton and the role that they play in the health of our ecosystem and translate that knowledge into meaningful learning experiences for my students.

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