District STEM Teacher Receives National Research Grant
Ashley Reese, a teacher at Carver Middle School, has been named a recipient of a Society for Science & the Public STEM Research Grant. She is one of 100 middle and high school teachers across the country to receive a grant, part of a total of $100,000 handed out in the form of STEM research kits.
The funds are designed to help students conduct scientific research remotely and in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. For her part, Reese plans to use the grant to provide science lab equipment, materials, and instructions to her students.
“Receiving the STEM research grant has been an amazing experience. I am excited about providing all students with the opportunity to experience science at home,” Reese said. “I believe this experience will help pave the way for future science leaders. The labs will help students explore and expand learning opportunities to create critical thinkers, increase science literacy, and enable the next generation of innovators.”
Reese’s interest and aptitude for scientific research was evident in her early years. She discovered that STEM allowed her to showcase her complex thinking skills as well as develop and solve intricate problems.
“As a child I would always question why and how theories developed, their accuracy and verifiability,” Reese said. “I found myself constantly reading books to find the true answers to my questions and analyze situations that did not have an easy or obvious answer.”
Her inquisitive nature continued to expand and her interest in science and teaching developed while studying for her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Florida A&M University. During that time, she had a mentor who constantly motivated and challenged her to always perform above expectations.
“[My mentor’s] willingness to be patient with me as I learned my purpose helped develop my ‘left brain.’ Countless hours of research, mentorship, and volunteer work shaped my future,” Reese said.
With her genuine affinity for STEM nurtured since childhood, and nearly a decade of teaching experience, this research grant will allow Reese to enrich her students’ education and pass down the enjoyment of learning, fueled by the central theme that started it all for her.
“When students leave my classroom I would like them to remember to always ask questions,” Reese said. “Whether the question is geared toward science, engineering, math, or technology, always ask the question!”