CUMMING — A Forsyth Central High School science teacher recently returned from a research program for educators in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Jessica Faubel was one of 40 teachers from across the U.S. selected for the Siemens Teachers as Researchers, or STARs, program.
In Oak Ridge, she worked with a team of research scientists and fellow educators on a project examining the use of magnetic fields to anneal plastic deformation in metals.
“It was completely new to me,” Faubel said. “I had a little bit of magnetism in my undergraduate physics courses but … I never learned very much about the characteristics of metals.”
STARs is designed to promote education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields while giving teachers the opportunity to network and gain more firsthand experience they can bring back to the classroom. Central is home to a STEM Academy.
Faubel said she appreciated the opportunity to learn from fellow educators and discuss her own experiences as a teacher.
“We were always talking about what we had just done and how we were going to take it back to class,” she said. “Just being with the other teachers there allowed us to brainstorm a ton of ideas and sort of tweak the way we do our current projects.”
Faubel is collaborating with the other educators she met to create a “budget version” of their research project which can be used in the classroom.
“We’re going to try to create a pencil-testing device, which will expand on some of the projects that we do in our engineering and physics classes,” Faubel said.
The teachers also learned about the laboratory in which they worked. The STARs program took place at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, a government research effort that produced the first atomic bombs.
“I learned a lot about the laboratory history,” Faubel said. “It was so important to United States history and the Manhattan Project.”
Faubel has spent three years at Central, where she teaches Advanced Placement physics and honors biology. She is originally from Cumming and attended Central, Otwell Middle and Cumming Elementary.