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St. Ursula Teacher to be Honored by UC for Preparing Young Women for High-Demand Science Fields

Sandy Campbell will be honored with UC’s Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award at the Dec. 11 Commencement Ceremony.

Date: 12/1/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre

UC ingot   “Buck up and be a woman!” University of Cincinnati senior Emily Head remembers that call to order all too well from her high school chemistry teacher. It was that motivation and that passion from her teacher that led Emily into pursuing a college degree in chemical engineering. With that in mind, she’s honoring St. Ursula Academy chemistry teacher Sandy Campbell at UC’s Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 11.
Sandy Campbell and Emily Head
Sandy Campbell and Emily Head

Campbell, a 37-year veteran of teaching (31 of them at St. Ursula), is one of three educators from around the Tristate who will be honored with the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award. The awards will be presented at UC’s Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center.

The Anderson Township resident will be presented with a $1,000 UC scholarship to be awarded to a high school senior of her choosing who plans to attend UC in the 2011-2012 academic year.

She was selected from nominations by soon-to-graduate UC students who wanted to honor a K-12 educator who inspired them on their pathway to a college degree. The nominations were reviewed by a UC committee that included representation from the Office of the President, UC faculty, staff and students.

Emily Head
Emily Head

“Although my parents first suggested that I look into engineering, it was Ms. Campbell who helped me to decide which engineering discipline I should pursue,” says Emily, now 22, who graduates from UC in the spring. “It was also Ms. Campbell who continued to remind me that UC’s engineering program was one of the best around,” she says.

Emily says that all through her experience at UC, she continued to reference notes she took in her high school chemistry class under Ms. Campbell. Her former teacher also blended her passion for science with a sense of whimsy, such as transforming her classroom into a ghoulish lab on Halloween, dressing up (by looking like she was decomposing), and running spooky experiments that demonstrated that energy can be generated in the form of light as well as heat.

“With my particular teaching subject, I’m talking about atoms and molecules – something that none of them have seen – so yes, I think teachers need to have a great imagination and dramatically demonstrate to students that chemistry doesn’t only affect them for this classroom period of their day. Instead, there isn’t five minutes of their day that goes by that is not directly affected by chemistry,” says Campbell.

Sandy Campbell
Sandy Campbell

UC’s reputation as a top urban research university makes it a top destination for talented students like Emily. Its opportunities and partnerships – undergraduate research, science-related service learning opportunities here at home and around the world, its K-12 partnerships to enhance science education and its scholarships such as the state-supported Choose Ohio First Program – attract students pursuing careers in the high-demand professions of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM)as well as for future teachers specializing in STEMM education.

Emily says it was the support of her high school teacher that kept her feet steady and firm on this pathway to graduation. “She cared for the student as a whole person, not just how they were performing academically. Without Ms. Campbell’s guidance and her knowledge about chemistry that she shared with me during my high school years, I would not be a senior at the University of Cincinnati, just two quarters away from graduating with a chemical engineering degree.”

This December marks the sixth year that UC has presented the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Awards to recognize the lifelong inspiration of K-12 educators.

Read More about the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Awards

UC Commencement website