Committee Representative Candidates


Pamela Auburn

The Woodlands, TX
Years of experience: 20–30
Grades Taught: Community College

Science Teaching Philosophy

My goal as a chemistry teacher is to connect student's interests and experiences to chemistry content. In other words I seek to make chemistry personally meaningful. It is my belief that when I can engage students in meaningful learning they will be more likely to succeed and persist. Not every student will become a chemist but chemistry does have relevance to the life of every student. I want students to leave my classroom more appreciative of the chemistry around them and better consumers of the chemical information that impacts their lives.

Why I Want to Serve

In addition to teaching chemistry, I have been active in science education: teaching science methods to K–8 pre-service teachers, as National Science Teacher's Association online adviser, as a presenter at BCCE, and as a member of the Houston Area Chemistry Teachers. Many of the instructional methods used in K–12 (eg. active learning, modeling) are finding relevance in higher ed as we seek to reach all learners. I have used this models to develop professional development activities for my colleagues in higher ed. In general there is a need to better connect K-12 with 13-16. While pedagogy is one aspect of this, another is the need to diversify the STEM workforce. Teaching is for me a second career. My first was as a research chemist in the private sector. I have personal knowledge of this need. The effort to develop a more diverse STEM workforce must start in engaging more students in science in K-12 through lessons embedded in relevant content and in developing methods to make science more accessible to English language learners. In this context I am a PI on an NSF grant focused on nanotechnology education. Part of the work of this grant is outreach to K-12 to engage teachers and students in this emerging area of science.

Susan Dietrich

Holly, MI
Years of experience: 20–30
Grades Taught: 9, 10, 11, 12

Science Teaching Philosophy

Through the years, I developed a love for chemistry I never knew existed. When I reflect on my personal experiences in class, I know I can, and have to do better. Chemistry touches our lives in ways student's don't realize and I try very hard to bring everyday ideas into basic chemical activities and lectures. Not very many chemistry teachers say they love to teach stoich—but its my favorite unit! I feel extremely happy if I can make such a difficult concept easy for basic chemistry students. That is why I teach chemistry—to make learning approachable for everyone.

Why I Want to Serve

I want to be able to bring my twenty two years of classroom experience and leadership skills to the Committee because I would like to have a voice in how chemistry in public schools is learned and enjoyed. I am working toward my administration certificate and believe that being a committee member would be an excellent opportunity to use my leadership skills at the next level. In addition to high school science, I teach at Mott Community College and Baker College, both in Flint Michigan. I see a blending of knowledge and gaps in learning in my students at that level from a variety of schools and experiences. It has given me insight into the disconnect from HS to college level expectations. The new NGSS standards are throwing districts into disarray as they struggle to understand the 3 dimensional process in teaching and assessment. In the upcoming years, I expect to see even more gaps in knowledge in my college students because of the struggle. I can say from our experience, leadership and training has been slim and interpreting the new standards has been a challenge for our team. Being able to work through the philosophy of chemistry education in public schools with members from all over the country will give me a new perspective and insight about the challenges public schools are facing, and perhaps how to help struggling science departments in our schools.

Campaign Statement

My name is Susan Dietrich and I am enthusiastically seeking the nomination for AACT committee representative because I want to have a leadership role in the advancement of chemistry education and support k-12 chemistry teachers. I am a high school chemistry, biology, and physical science teacher in a rural setting in Michigan- but I also teach chemistry in the evenings at two local Flint community colleges. As an AACT member, I have enjoyed numerous aspects of the website and promote the resources to my departments. As a committee representative, I will enjoy interfacing with the various committees and learning all of the activities of the AACT that occur to support teachers. I would love to be part of an organization that recognizes great chemistry teachers, delivers innovative lesson plans, and promotes chemistry education nationally.

Stephanie Harry

Alexandria, VA
Years of experience: 20–30
Currently working outside the classroom

Science Teaching Philosophy

My educational philosophy states regardless of a students’ educational background, they are afforded the opportunity to achieve a superlative chemistry education and are motivated to pursue a career in science. If a child enters my class with inadequate reading, writing, math and/or critical thinking skills I must be able to incorporate lessons, labs, and activities that will help the student achieve success in this course. I strive to provide an atmosphere where students are challenged to succeed, feel safe in asking questions, are encouraged to be resilient throughout the course, and are rewarded for making a valiant effort.

Why I Want to Serve

I want to serve in this position because I believe and wish to support the guiding principles for AACT. I first heard and joined AACT in 2017 after visiting the booth at National Science Teacher Association area conference. I was excited to learn of there was an association geared specifically towards providing resources and support for K-12 chemistry teachers. By serving as a Committee Representative I will have the chance to increase my voice and efforts to help AACT continue to fulfill the guiding principles and be a community created by and for teachers of chemistry.

The knowledge and skills I have acquired from my experience of teaching chemistry for 22-years’, serving as the Chemistry Content Chair for Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST), experience writing chemistry curriculum, and serving on numerous chemistry committees will prove valuable in performing the responsibilities for this position. I have contributed to AACT by submiting an article for publication in Chemistry Solutions periodical, I serve as a Regional Representative, I have sponsored AACT membership for a first-year Chemistry teacher, and I have participated in recruitment efforts for AACT. As the VAST chemistry content chair, I created and maintained a chemistry page on the website. Making chemistry teachers aware of AACT grants and awards, providing direct links to AACT website are posted on this page. As a member of AACT Governing Body I will have the opportunity to increase my representation for AACT.

Campaign Statement

I began teaching chemistry in 1995—six weeks after school started. I had an awesome mentor and she showed me navigate the administrative duties connected to teaching. She was unable to provide support with the chemistry curriculum because she didn’t have a science background. I spent countless hours creating lesson plans and finding reinforcement activities to use in the classroom. It was even harder locating professional development opportunities which catered to chemistry teachers. My first years’ experience has constantly propelled me to assist other teachers and connect them to tools to they need to reach their teaching goals.

I learned about AACT in 2017 at a national conference. I was excited to discover a community created specifically for K–12 chemistry teachers and housed many of the resources, I need as an educator, in a central location. I immediately joined, began promoting and recruiting for AACT. I wonder how educators, who can’t attend conferences, would learn about the benefits of being a part of this community. I know there are teachers who are currently experiencing some of the same issues I encountered my first years as a chemistry teacher. Serving as the committee representative will provide me a broader platform to assist teachers and help AACT with its outreach efforts. I am the best candidate for the committee representative because I would utilize my experiences of teaching chemistry for 22 years, of contributing to AACT, and my leadership role as guidance in fulfilling this position. Thank you.