Staffer Gets Distinguished Service Award

Contact: Ralph Derickson

Photo of Sally Shafer
Sally Shafer

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Shafer’s previous career experience includes working in numerous engineering positions with Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., and Sweetheart Plastics Corp., Wilmington, Mass.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 29, 2004) -- Sally Shafer, a program coordinator with the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy Science Works program in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded the 2004 Distinguished Service Award from the Kentucky Science Teachers Association (KSTA).

Shafer received the KSTA award at the association’s annual Kentucky Science Teachers Professional Development Conference held Nov.19 in Lexington. This year, the conference focused on literacy, technology, best practices and the “No Child Left Behind” initiative.

The association annually presents awards to outstanding elementary, middle and high school teachers and the Distinguished Service Award to an exemplary science educator in the state who has shown active leadership and long-term dedication in the field of science education, and made significant contributions to the field.

The award was presented to Shafer, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Denison University and a Master of Science in physics from The Ohio Sate University. She created and directed the Science Works program, which has promoted excellence in science education in elementary and middle schools since 1993.

Shafer’s previous career experience includes working in numerous engineering positions with Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Mich., and Sweetheart Plastics Corp., Wilmington, Mass.

Working with Joe Straley, UK professor of physics and astronomy, Shafer has co-developed physics courses for in-service teachers and the supporting classroom materials to allow them to teach physics concepts to their own students in an engaging and inquiry-based manner.

The program has attracted more than $750,000 in research and education grants since 1993. Since 2001, with support from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, the program has developed a series of distance learning courses for teachers (primarily in rural Appalachia) that focus on hands-on experiences.

Shafer is also co-authoring a nationally marketed series of middle school instructional modules and co-designing the associated science materials kits for classrooms.

Starting in January 2005, Shafer will assume project management of a new multi-departmental $2 million grant program from the National Science Foundation Interagency Education Research Initiative to assess the degree to which distance learning for science teachers affects their own students’ education.


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