Jillian Worssam is fascinated by the diversity of all living and nonliving systems. Due to previous scientific field experience Ms. Worssam founded "Scientists in the Classroom", a national and global mentor program for students and scientists in the field. Each individual student in Ms. Worssam's science classes is paired with their own scientist for an entire academic year, breaking down classroom walls and bringing the world of science to a northern Arizona classroom. Ms. Worssam is also the STEM and oceanography sponsor for her school, showing students in a land-locked state the importance of the Earth's oceanic ecosystems.

When not teaching, Ms. Worssam is an active board member for the Flagstaff Festival of Science, America's longest community science festival celebrating its 25th year in 2014. Ms. Worssam is also the regional leader for the NOAA Climate Stewards program. With nine participating western and pacific states, adult professionals engaged in climate awareness and techniques to disseminate information about climate change Ms. Worssam is the recipient of numerous awards in education including Flagstaff Arizona's first STEM Teacher of the Year and recognized as a Rodel Exemplary Teacher Finalist.

Sinagua Middle School

Flagstaff, AZ
United States

Broader Impacts

Jillian is continuously developing a mentor program among local, polar, national, and international scientists—one on one with all of her students for an entire academic school year.

Why I Applied

Good teachers lead by example. I teach and engage students in world science, specifically polar science, thus I need to learn more about and experience the southern polar region. I have been very fortunate to already experience PolarTREC once in spending a month in the Bering Sea. I am now interested in providing for my students a fully rounded pole-to-pole yearlong curriculum. PolarTREC motivated me to become a better STEM teacher, allowed me to partner with scientists in the field and bring current relevant scientific data to my Arizona students. I am motivated to apply because I can make a difference in the lives of my students and scientists by bringing the two together! With a second PolarTREC experience I will gain first person, hands on experience in the field dealing with various southern hemisphere topics including: weather, robotics, ocean currents, all science below 60 degrees south. I hope to gain partnerships with scientists, making the connection from class to field, teaching my students through experiential learning about hands on science from a global polar perspective. What motivates me? I want to be “that” science teacher providing a classroom of knowledge and experiential learning that students never forget!