Geraldine Robbins
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Geraldine Robbins

Head of the CLAS

Geraldine Robbins (B.S. in Chemistry, 1983) was only one of 32 teachers selected to be an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator in 2010.

The prestigious Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program offers elementary and secondary science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers with a demonstrated excellence in teaching an opportunity to serve in the national education or public policy arenas, according to a press release. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy and is coordinated by Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education.

Selected teachers spend a school year in the Washington, DC metro area, serving in a Congressional Office or a Federal agency. Fellows provide practical insights and real world perspective to policy makers and program managers developing or managing education programs.

"We have a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) crisis in our country," Robbins said. "Not only are students under-competing, few are interested in even competing at all."

Robbins will be serving at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

"I hope to inspire and engage students and educators in the area of STEM education," she said.

To receive this prestigious recognition, Robbins had to complete an almost 10 page application that included multiple essays and reference letters. Once she was selected as a semi-finalist, she was invited to participate in a weekend of formal interviews at the Department of Energy (DOE) with representatives from NASA, DOE, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education and NOAA.

Robbins holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Florida. After UF, Robbins spent time as a bench chemist, then environmental field chemist. She started her own environmental consulting company, and later two other firms dealing with engineering and construction. She sold both companies in 1998 and began teaching at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2000.

She later got her M.S. in Mathematics Education (Teaching and Curriculum) from the University of Rochester, New York, and returned to teaching in 2005.

"I like guiding students to see something in themselves that they may not have seen before. I like watching them solve problems," Robbins said. "Most of all, I love their idealism, their fresh and unique perspectives and their wonderful, hopeful sense of the world."

At Episcopal, Robbins served as Chair of the Episcopal High School Accreditation Standards Committee for SAIS, SACS, FCIS, during which time she oversaw an extensive compliance audit and evaluation that took two years to complete. The resulting report was so successful that Episcopal was accredited for ten years instead of the normal five year term and the report is now being used by SAIS as a model for other independent schools.

"This fellowship brings me to the national arena," she said. "I am now in a position to (perhaps) be a part of the solution to the STEM education crisis in our nation."

Credits

Writer

Aubrey Siegel, Communications and Outreach

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