UCSD Preuss School teacher wins Amgen teaching award


Two San Diego area educators are among 34 science teachers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico named Tuesday as recipients of the 18th annual Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence.

Nearly 250 applications were received for the award, which “recognizes extraordinary teachers in grades K-12 whose dedication to students has had a significant impact on the learning and interest of the future generation of scientists,” according to Thousand Oaks-based Amgen.

A half-dozen of the 2010 recipients are from California, including Anne Artz of Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla and Ericka Senegar-Mitchell of Junipero Serra High School in San Diego.

Others are from Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,

Washington, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Artz worked for several biotech companies before finding her true calling in the classroom, according to Amgen.

To increase science literacy, she directs her students to read about science from a variety of sources. “Jurassic Park” may be assigned for a discussion about genetics, DNA and technology, and when studying DNA, her students read from “Survival of the Sickest,” which discusses the role of cell replication in relation to cancer.

Artz is most proud of the number of her Preuss students who spend their summers working in campus labs at UC San Diego and continue on to major in science-related fields.

“I know I have given them a good foundation to be successful scientists and researchers,” she said.

Senegar-Mitchell “helps her students reach their fullest potential by fostering an environment that rewards risk-taking and the sharing of ideas, thus allowing their natural curiosity to direct learning,” according to Amgen.

She has earned numerous awards, including being named by a committee of her peers as the “2010-11 Junipero Serra High School Teacher of the Year.”

The 34 selected winners will receive an unrestricted cash award of $5,000 and a restricted $5,000 cash grant to the recipient’s school “for the expansion or enhancement of a school science program, science resources or the professional development of the school’s science teachers.”

Along with their award applications, teachers were asked to submit an innovative science lesson plan which had been successfully introduced in their classroom. Amgen will post select winning lesson plans to its website for educators across the country to view.