2013 California State Science Fair
Science Fair Teacher of the Year — Junior Division

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The award citation at the Awards Ceremony reads:

This year’s Junior Division California State Science Fair Teacher of the Year has taken on a school that has incorporated the Science Fair into its science curriculum. She weaves science, math and writing in her lessons, making all subjects “pop” for students, when they see the interconnectedness of the seemingly different disciplines. In her words, preparing students for the Science Fair is the single most important work she does to support and teach her students.

Her students echo these sentiments, one explaining, “When I am outside of school, I remember to ask questions and to expand my knowledge about how the world works, just the way she taught me.” She encourages her 108 students to approach their projects organically, always noting what she calls: “I-wonder-why questions,” asking students to expand their thinking to answer questions that will lead them to compete successfully at the Science Fair. It is this type of inquiry that prepares students for success and tailors science to each student’s unique needs.

To help these students develop their 21st century skills and build them up as scientists, she has piloted a mentorship program that enlists scientists, engineers, and professionals from the community to mentor her students through evening workshops. These workshops are optional for her students, but have proved to be popular and well attended. This is a testament to the passion that she has for her students and for science as an endeavor.

Please join me in congratulating our Junior Division Teacher of the Year — from St. Charles School in San Carlos, San Mateo County — Nicole Shimshock!

[photo of Nicole Shimshock]

Nicole Shimshock was named as advisor on the following projects this year: J0910, J1316, J1710, J1902, J1905, and J2114.

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California State Science Fair / 2013 / Science Fair Teacher of the Year — Junior Division / CalifSF@usc.edu