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Meet Brenda Julissa Diaz.

The Elementary STEM Journal strives to not only share great ideas, but to also highlight the great work happening in elementary STEM classrooms across the country and around the world. Teacher Highlight will introduce readers to one extraordinary elementary STEM teacher in each issue. Each featured teacher is either an ITEEA Teacher Excellence Award winner or is part of an ITEEA Program Excellence Award-winning program at an elementary school. We congratulate them for the great work they do for their students and thank them for being willing to share their experiences in The Elementary STEM Journal.

Brenda Julissa Diaz was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, in 1972. She received a B.E. degree in Agricultural Science and Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, in 1996 and 2002, respectively.

In her own words:

In May 2014,1 moved to Grants, New Mexico. Beginning in August 2014,1 was with the Grants Cibola School District as a substitute teacher before becoming a 6th grade educator with Provisional License-Level I in 2015 to 2018. My current research interests include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). I'm a member of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), New Mexico Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NMCTM), American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and New Mexico Science Teachers Association (NMSTA).

On May 1, 2017,1 was nominated for the 2018 Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award in New Mexico. In April 2018 I received the ITEEA Teacher Excellence Award in Atlanta, Georgia. On May 15, 2018 I received a recognition from Grants Cibola County School Board of Education for the 2018 Teacher Excellent Award.

In February 2016,1 started the NMSU Science Lab Program for students in Grades 4-6 and in coordination with New Mexico State University-Grants. This program is an opportunity to explore and teach chemistry, biology, physical science, and the process of scientific inquiry.

In November 2016,1 prepared a workshop for educators about the "Cardboard Hand Competition in New Mexico State University-Grants"

In February 2017, there was a "Cardboard Hand Competition" for 4th-6th grades. Almost 300 students participated in the competition; the experience was amazing.

In June 2017, a student from our school participated for the first time in the "You Be The Chemist" National Competition in Washington, DC. My first student in the competition was Kylette Garcia, In June 2018, my student was Saira Sierra, It's was an excellent experience for them.


ask the teacher:

1. What do you like about teaching STEM?

I believe that STEM education is most effective at motivating students to learn and explore. This tends to enhance the students' self-confidence and engagement.

2. What has been your favorite moment in your STEM class? I have a few favorite moments: Cardboard Hand Competition, Robotics Competition, and Chemistry National Competition in Washington, DC.

3. What is your favorite activity to introduce students to STEM?

My favorite activity to introduce students to STEM was "Chemistry National Week." We celebrate it every October by making an experiment for 4th-6th graders. This year, we'll conduct a kinetic sand experiment.

4. What are your future goals?

My future goals are to finish my teaching license requirements, get a masters degree in education, submit a proposal for an engineering school in New Mexico State University-Grants, and develop a STEM program for 3rd-6th graders.

Brendajulissa Diaz can be reached at Brenda.diaz@accs.k12.
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Author:Diaz, Brendajulissa
Publication:The Elementary STEM Journal
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2019

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