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Central teacher tapped for research program

CUMMING — With several weeks left before the end of the school year, Jessica Faubel has begun making her summer plans.

The Forsyth Central High School science teacher is one of just 40 teachers from across the country who will participate in the Siemens Teachers as Researchers fellowship program in June.

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure how many people apply every year and I’m only a third-year teacher,” Faubel said. “You always underestimate your qualifications, so I was surprised to get in.”

The annual program will be held at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest national research lab.

It’s designed to encourage teachers to bring excitement for real-world research into their classrooms to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — education.

During the program, Faubel will work with some of the country’s top scientists on projects focused on current research. She will also tour facilities and attend seminars aimed at aiding teachers to effectively incorporate science and math research in the classroom. This is what she’s the most excited about.

“I am interested in being able to work with other teachers who are all interested in the STEM field on research projects,” she said. “I like doing research and doing hands-on stuff, and anything I can expose myself to that I can bring back to my class will make it more interesting for them.”

As part of her selection, Faubel also received a $300 mini-grant to buy classroom equipment and supplies.

Faubel, who is also a STEM Academy teacher at Central, said she plans on taking good notes to bring back to her colleagues and the science department.

“Depending on what kind of projects I get to work on, I know there are going to be some field trips,” she said. “Anything I find that will be an interesting application, I fully intend on sharing with the rest of my department.”