ERC-RMB RET Teacher Goes to India
Aebeyo Abraha, a full-time high school chemistry teacher and summertime researcher at the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials (RMB), headquartered at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, spent two weeks in 2012 visiting schools and colleges in India to learn and teach. Mr. Abraha was part of a delegation from the U.S. State Department’s Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) program.
Mr. Abraha’s participation in ERC-RMB research on metallic biomaterials has enabled him to incorporate research perspectives and objectives into his teaching at home and abroad, leveraging the benefits of the NSF Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that made it possible. While in India, he gave presentations on his experiences at ERC-RMB, including real-life research-based lesson plans he developed as a result.
ERC-RMB’s RET program enables K-14 teachers of science, math, and technology subjects to work with research scientists and engineers at North Carolina A&T. It also provides guidance and materials for taking the experience back to their classrooms. Mr. Abraha was a prime RET candidate. He has 16 years of teaching experience in chemistry and physical sciences and currently teaches chemistry and International Baccalaureate (IB) chemistry at Smith High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 2011.
Mr. Abraha worked in 2011 with Dr. Yeoheung Yun of the ERC-RMB faculty at North Carolina A&T on researching corrosion of Magnesium (Mg) metals for use in biodegradable implantable medical devices. He was selected for the RET program again in 2012.
Abraha is particularly interested in bringing global awareness to his classroom and in how to relate science and technology to real-life problems. While in India, he focused on comparing classrooms, lesson plans and other aspects of teaching. “What are they doing differently?” he asked.
As a direct result of his RET experience, Mr. Abraha has designed a chemistry module that extends the impact of what he learned to other teachers. He was one of only 100 teachers selected for the 2012 TGC program, and the only one asked to present on his scientific research while abroad. As part of follow-on activities, he will give special talks on global awareness and leadership for the 21st century job market to students at Smith School High School and to ERC-RMB Summer Outreach Participants (RETs, Research Experience for Undergraduates participants, , Young Scholars, and RMB graduate students and faculty.)