Monica Beckman is an engineer/scientist turned educator. She earned an engineering degree from the University of Washington and worked as an environmental engineer and project manager for 16 years. Her projects included hazardous waste remediation and stream restoration. She then went back to school and earned a Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington. This will be her 8th year at Washington Middle School. This year, she will be teaching a pilot course offering physical science to 7th and 8th grade students.
Monica's interest in marine science is a result of her lifelong love of sailing and snorkeling. Her goal through the OACIS program is to develop more project-based science and engineering inquiries related to marine environments to engage students. Her hope is that students decide they are interested in, and quite capable of pursuing, further studies and careers in science and engineering.
Marta Turksel-Branch currently teaches alternative high school for the Orcas Island School District. She has been teaching about nature and the environment for over thirty years in six different states. She has taken over 40,000 students of all ages into the "outdoor classroom" to study and make heart connections with the environment. She received her bachelors degree from Cornell University in environmental education, and a masters degree from Gonzaga University in curriculum and administration in 1995. In her career, she has helped to write and revise many of the national curriculum standards for environmental education including Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, Aquatic Wild, and the U.S. Forest Service Investigating Your Environment Series.
Marine science is one of Marta's special interests. She has loved marine creatures from the time of her own gleeful childhood explorations of the tidal flats of Boston Harbor in the early 1960's. Most recently, a National Science Foundation Grant with Dr. Jenny Purcell and the WWU Shannon Point Marine Science Labs helped her to explore the interrelationships possible between researchers, graduate students, and high school students while working with jellies and plankton. She has also worked with the KWIAHT Center for the Historical Ecology of the Salish Sea and their director Dr. Russell Barsh to integrate "real" science into the high school classroom. One of her teaching goals is to help her students become literate about the environment and responsibly act and vote on the global issues.
Susan Brierley grew up on and in lakes. She only discovered that her love of water and mucking about in boats translated to salt water when she and her family found a sunny plot of land on Orcas Island. She teaches chemistry at Garfield High School. She finished her degree in botany at the UW with a love of marine algae and with an appreciation of how marine chemistry and plants were tied together. Student teaching a unit on Marine algae in Craig McGowan’s classes at Garfield High School sealed the deal about where to teach. The chance to apply environmental science and the chemistry of red algae in chocolate milk to the standard practice of teaching chemistry is irresistible. Chemistry ties all disciplines together!
Nick Frazee has been a science teacher in Friday Harbor for 5 years. He has enjoyed teaching courses from AP physics and AP chemistry to astronomy, robotics, film making, and personal finance. Living on beautiful San Juan Island has ignited his interest in ocean-related sciences as well. Nick is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with several fellows in the GK-12 OACIS program. He has also coached successful Ocean Science Bowl teams for the last couple of years, and is getting into building underwater robots for the MATE competition. Outside of the classroom he likes doing other stuff.
Margaux Isaman teaches Biology and Precalculus at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. Her interest in biology started as young girl when her father taught her about plants and animals while camping in the Pacific Northwest. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, she was an apprentice at Friday Harbor Laboratories studying algae and spent a year abroad studying in France. After obtaining a B.S. and a B.A, she went on to get a Masters in Education. Her goal is to connect curriculum to global issues while encouraging scientific curiosity in her students. Margaux hopes that the OACIS GK-12 program will strengthen her marine science content knowledge and expose students to actual scientists and current research.
Heather Snookal grew up in Southern California and truly recognized her love of the natural world while spending summers working on Native American reservations in Northern California. She attended Occidental College and majored in Biology with an environmental emphasis, and spent her undergraduate research focused on pathogen damage to tropical rainforest tree plantations, looking for the optimal ways to replant deforested land.
After her undergraduate work, Heather began teaching at Pasadena High School in Pasadena, California. She spent her first three years teaching an introductory-level physical science class and a general life science class. Heather and her family relocated to Seattle, where she took a break from teaching to explore other interests, became a birth doula, and attended Seattle University to obtain her Master in Teaching. She just finished her third year teaching at Garfield High School, where she joined a dynamic and legendary science department. She teaches 9th grade Biology and an Environmental Science elective.
Heather's mission in teaching Environmental Science is to empower her students to make a difference in the world by providing them with an understanding of the natural world and guiding them as they develop environmental literacy and agency in their communities. While she does not have a Marine Science background, she believes that integrating Marine Science into her curriculum will give students a more comprehensive understanding of the environmental issues facing them in their lifetime.
Jonathan Stever teaches biology and marine science at Garfield High School. His interest in marine science started as a boy when he took backpacking trips to the Washington coast. High school trips to Florida, Australia and Hawaii and great classes at Garfield further fueled his passion for biology and marine science. He went on to get a B.A. in Biology from Colorado College. One of his most memorable experiences during college was studying at UW's Friday Harbor Laboratories in their spring quarter Marine Zoology and Botany Program. He graduated in 1994 and started teaching biology and marine science in Washington. He has now been teaching for 14 years and has exposed thousands of students to the wonders of our marine ecosystem. He has incorporated numerous field trips and hands-on labs into his science curriculum, including Seattle Aquarium outreach programs, citizen science programs, and fieldtrips to the Washington coast and Hawaii. He truly enjoys passing on his love of marine science and life.
Marc Vermeire has a B.S. in Biology and Asian Studies from Augustana College, a M.S. in Oceanography from National Taiwan University, teaching credentials from Western Washington University, and his K-12 Principal certification from City University. He has taught science for 14 years in the San Juan Islands. In addition, he has coached NOSB's Orca Bowl, been involved with the MATE ROV Challenge, and works through UW to teach Ocean 101 in the UWHS program. He enjoys boating and cooking what he catches.
Megan Vogel teaches Biology, Maritime Biology, Ecology, and Oceanography at Ballard High School. She has always been interested in water, learning how to use it as a resource for food via fly fishing in Montana and later how to read the rapids as a white water rafting guide. In college, she spent time on the Great Barrier Reef working with sea turtles. This research sparked an endless curiosity for marine biology, especially in smaller organisms such as jellies. After she moved to the coast, she gained an even bigger appreciation for the importance of learning and teaching about our world's oceans. She hopes that the OACIS GK12 program will help her learn more about current marine research and enrich her teaching. She is also excited to collaborate with OACIS to foster appreciation and awareness of the importance of teaching ocean science literacy to high school students. She also is considering returning to school to pursue a PhD or a National Board Certification