I want to share the incredible honor of being a Presidential Awardee with all the colleagues who collaborated and all the students who explored with me. Young scientists, given the freedom to wonder, are the fuel behind my own accomplishments. Seeing a special education student's joy as she discovers that a lima bean is really a plant, or listening to a ten-year-old debate with his peers about the trajectory of a marshmallow, is proof that science education is where our hope meets the future.
Rebecca Cummings has been an educator for nearly 10 years, teaching fourth and fifth grade at Pelham Elementary School. Having worked on a three-year grant with teachers throughout New Hampshire to infuse inquiry into science education, she has helped to develop lessons, training, and mentorships in which children discover the value of their own wonderings, and their own ideas are celebrated as essential to the learning process. Rebecca's love of science has inspired her students to make connections that can be utilized in all subject areas throughout their education. When they are exploring, questioning, predicting, observing, researching, collecting data, and making sense of their findings, students' ideas blossom from simple questions such as, "What is inside this bean that will make it grow?" and "Does dead stuff have energy?" She refers to this as minds-on, rather than hands-on, learning. She loves to facilitate the process by allowing students the space and materials to grow as thoughtful scientists. Every year new ideas fuel her own excitement, such as augmenting her lessons with the latest technology. Rebecca has a B.A., cum laude, in English and child study from Tufts University, and a M.Ed., cum laude, from Rivier College. She is certified in kindergarten through sixth grade elementary education and is the Elementary Inquiry Facilitator for the Pelham School District.
- High-resolution version of the official portrait photograph
- Awardee holding Presidential certificate between Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director, Dr. John P. Holdren, and Assistant Director, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation, Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
- High-resolution version of the teacher profile photograph