Introduction: We are excited to continue our Educator Spotlight series, which brings you inside - and at times outside - the classroom with one of our exceptional educators. In doing so, the series offers you a glimpse of how Gibbons educators care for and engage students, preparing them for college and beyond while forming them as men and women of faith, service, and leadership in church and community. Today, we are going outside the classroom and spotlighting Science Educator Sarah Kuszaj '95. Our other spotlights featured Technology Educator Jon Armfield, Drama Educator Kevin Ferguson, Social Studies Educator Jessica Lowe '99, Spanish Educator Miguel Casas, Math Educator Leah Iyer ' 08, Science Educator Joleen Smith, Theology Educator Austin Faur, and English Educator Maria Hill.
Gibbons Educator and Alumna Sarah Kuszaj ’95 is going to Costa Rica - for science!
Kuszaj, who teaches AP biology and marine ecology, is one of 15 educators across the country to receive a fellowship from the nonprofit Ecology Project International (EPI), to make the trip, April 20-27, during spring break. She is traveling to the coast of Costa Rica to study the endangered leatherback sea turtles and their nesting and migration patterns; as well as the ecosystem of the country’s rainforest and the biodiversity of its tropical flora and fauna.
"Sarah will have a unique opportunity to experience science at its best ...,"
Assistant Principal of Instruction Nancy Barkan says.
Describing the importance of such professional development efforts, Assistant Principal of Instruction Nancy Barkan says, “Sarah will have a unique opportunity to experience science at its best – actively learning about something she is very passionate about. Her students will benefit from her experience for years to come.”
Kuszaj agrees and adds, “I want to bring back to my students a passion for science and nature.” She also will create a lesson plan from the data she collects about the sea turtles and rain forest to present to her students as well as to EPI. Traveling to Costa Rica and obtaining first-hand knowledge of the subject, “provides me with another way to relate to my students, and the lesson I present to them will become a shared experience,” she explains.
The trip, she adds, also “will help refresh me as an educator and increase my love of science.” How? It will present her with new examples to share with students that go beyond what is written in textbooks. Additionally, it will enable her to connect with other educators, share ideas about science, and discover ways they are incorporating the field experience into their classes.
Ultimately, the experience, Kuszaj explains, will help her redefine the classroom by bringing the world outside into it.