WALTON — A Lewis Cass teacher will be traveling to Tennessee for a two-week fellowship in June.
Zachary Blackwood, a teacher at the school for four years, was selected to participate in the Siemens Teachers as Researchers fellowship.
The Siemens Foundation initiative will allow Blackwood and 19 other teachers across the country to participate in hands-on research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Blackwood teaches physics, integrated chemistry and engineering to mainly 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Next year he hopes to also teach computer science.
The fellowship is available to middle school and high school STEM teachers and gives them the opportunity to work with scientists and researchers on research projects.
The main focus of the STAR fellowship is to learn more about research and how it can be brought back to the classroom, Blackwood said.
The two-week fellowship takes place in June and is an all-expense-paid, professional development opportunity to give those who attend research experience. Teachers will be working with researchers and will be have contacts to keep in touch with and interact with once they go back to the classroom.
Blackwood said he heard about the application and was also encouraged to apply by Southeastern Schools Superintendent Trudie Hedrick.
“I think it’s an amazing experience that he’ll be able to bring back to our kids and our community,” Hedrick said. “Words can’t express how excited I am for him and our kids.”
Blackwood said he is very excited about the experience. With only 20 people being selected, Blackwood said he didn’t think he would get a slot.
“I try to give students as much experience with hands-on science projects as possible,” Blackwood said. “I’m excited to come back and help them do real research projects.”
He was also chosen to go to the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue University this summer. The Purdue University graduate will be going to a week-long academy where he’ll be able to hear about STEM-related energy topics areas and work with students and teachers to develop lessons plans to bring back to the classroom.