The US Department of Energy and partnering federal agencies have finalized the selections for the 2018–2019 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow (AEF). PSU alumna Rachel Stagner, ’08, ’13, is one of 14 educators named for this prestigious award. She teaches chemistry and forensic science at Madison High School in Portland Public School District. Stagner will take a one-year leave of absence from her school to live and work at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.
Stagner has two master’s degrees from PSU, an MEd, ’08, and an MST, ’13, and serves on the board of the Oregon Science Teachers Association. In 2017–19 she was named a Murdock Partner in Science, which enables her to spend two summers at Oregon Health and Science University on a neuroscience project with Dr. Henryk Urbanski.
Stagner has taught at Madison since 2009 and serves as co-department head. She has mentored middle and high school minority and at-risk students and developed curriculum for the Oregon MESA project (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement). She is committed to increasing the number of women and minority students in STEM.
“It’s a great honor, and I wanted to say thank you to the GSE,” said Stagner, who credits the late GSE professor Ron Narode as her methods teacher. “I know he would have been proud.”
The AEF program was signed into law in 1994 to provide opportunities for K–12 educators in STEM to serve in a federal agency or US Congressional office. Educators return home with broader knowledge in their fields that can be applied to their classrooms and schools.