Plymouth Whitemarsh High School and Central Montco Technical High School student Natalie Antrim will receive recognition from the Philadelphia Regional Institute for STEM Educators (PRISE) for her work as a student intern.
She will be honored on March 18, during the PRISE STEM Educator Career Exploration Fair. The PRISE Student STEM Educator Recognition Prize is awarded to students who provide high quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) instruction to Philadelphia-area students.
Natalie is a senior in Central Montco’s Teacher Academy, and has been interning at Colonial Middle School. She worked with students in Ann Nitka-Johnson’s class, and was nominated by Dr. Debora Broderick, who coordinates the Teacher Academy at Central Montco. Dr. Broderick had visited the middle school to observe Natalie’s lesson, which focused on solving equations using square and cube roots. Natalie planned the standards-aligned lesson herself and created the majority of the materials the eighth-graders used.
“This is something that most students will do as part of their student teaching practicum at the end of college, so for Natalie to accomplish this as a high school student is worthy of recognition and celebration,” said Dr. Broderick.
Even though she is just a few years older than the students she was teaching, Ms. Nitka-Johnson said Natalie established a good rapport with the eighth-graders and was able to redirect when necessary.
“On the day of the lesson, Natalie strode in confidently and carried herself with grace and a level of maturity beyond her years. She was able to relate well to the students and I feel like they valued her thoughts because she had sat in their shoes not long ago,” said Ms. Nitka-Johnson.
Dr. Broderick said she immediately thought of Natalie after learning about the PRISE program’s award and conference because the award seeks to recognize future teachers who have had early success in teaching STEM areas. As part of being honored at the PRISE Career Fair, Natalie has been invited to take part in a poster session to share what she has learned with attendees.
Both Dr. Broderick and Ms. Nitka-Johnson know that Natalie will be one of those who helps to inspire others.
“I believe Natalie brings a desire to help students learn and understand the concept, which is especially important when teaching mathematics. The students need far more than rote memorization to be successful in life, and Natalie embraced this idea,” said Ms. Nitka-Johnson. “In Natalie, I saw a desire to learn and grow every day. She will be a great asset to the teaching profession and I am glad to be a part of her journey.”