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Education

ACS-Hach scholarships help prepare high school chemistry teachers

by Linda Wang
March 7, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 10

David Allan had always thought about becoming a high school chemistry teacher, so when his position as a research chemist at Dow Chemical was eliminated in 2008, he took the opportunity to pursue a career in teaching.

With the help of a scholarship from the American Chemical Society’s ACS-Hach Programs, Allan enrolled in a teacher certification program at Central Michigan University. Today, Allan is a physics and chemistry teacher at Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy, in Michigan, where he brings his real-world experiences into the classroom. “The most important thing is being able to nurture the natural curiosity and desire of students to understand the world around them, and to give them the tools they need to be able to figure things out on their own,” he says.

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Credit: Courtesy of David Allan
Allan (right) and biology teacher Matt Miller (left) accompany Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy students at a science quiz bowl.
Credit: Courtesy of David Allan
Allan (right) and biology teacher Matt Miller (left) accompany Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy students at a science quiz bowl.

Allan, who has a Ph.D. in macromolecular science and engineering, has been a member of ACS since 1979, when he joined as a student affiliate. He says it means a lot that ACS can provide him with resources both as a chemist and now as a high school chemistry teacher.

Anita Preininger, who is finishing up a teacher certification program and is working as an apprentice teacher at Spring Hill High School, in Columbia, Tenn., also credits the scholarship she received from ACS-Hach Programs, with helping her transition from being a research assistant professor at Vanderbilt University to becoming a high school chemistry teacher.

“We were seeing that, in some cases, it seemed like students didn’t have quite the background they needed to be successful at the college level,” she says. “My mission is to increase the number of chemists throughout the U.S., and I think we have to reach down to the high school level in order to get those students excited about chemistry and wanting to take it in college.

“The ACS-Hach scholarship has done so much to help equip me,” Preininger continues. “Having this opportunity to take classes has really given me a framework, and it’s accelerated my process of becoming a teacher.”

Like Allan, Preininger has been a longtime ACS member. “It’s funny how at each turn of my career, there was something ACS offered that I needed,” she says. “It’s great how many different ways ACS can support someone no matter what stage in their career they’re at.”

To learn more about ACS-Hach Programs or to apply for a scholarship, visit www.acs.org/hach. The deadline for the ACS-Hach Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Scholarship and the ACS-Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship is April 1.

Announcements of ACS news can be sent to acsnews.cen@acs.org.

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