Our vision is that the children of the District of Columbia - the capital of the free world - grow into knowledgeable citizens, prepared for the challenges of this 21st Century and able to apply their inventiveness, creativity and excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in service to society.
The primary mission of the Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) is to promote inspiring science education that empowers children to ask questions, teaches basic analytical skills, and broadens educational and career horizons.
Our primary focus is on instituting lasting change in District of Columbia schools through our teacher professional development programs and student programs.
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The Carnegie Academy for Science Education began as community projects usually do - with a very modest beginning. When Dr. Maxine Singer became president of the Carnegie Institution in 1988, her personal concern for the education of children, particularly in the neighborhood surrounding Carnegie's headquarters in Washington, DC, led her to found First Light, a Saturday science program for DC children, in 1989. As First Light grew, its staff took the innovative lessons they learned teaching science and applied them to training the District's teachers. Since 1994, CASE has been been offering teachers intensive summer professional development experiences that are designed to boost their scientific knowledge and equip them with new tools to engage students.
Timeline of Major Projects
1994-1999: CASE's first teacher professional development program, the Elementary Summer Institute, grew with support from the National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Philip L. Graham Fund. These grants provided to each teacher a stipend, a transportation allowance, a grant for science supplies for each classroom, and three graduate credits from George Mason University. During the first six years of the program approximately 500 elementary school teachers from over 50 schools attended the CASE Summer Institutes.
1999-2004: In 1999, CASE joined the American Association for the Advancement of Science and DC Public Schools in DC ACTS, a partnership supported by the National Science Foundation to reform the teaching and learning of science and mathematics and foster the integration of technology.
2004-Present: Since 2005, CASE has been working with the District of Columbia Public Schools Office of Career and Technical Education (now Office of Career Pathways), principals, and teachers to build a biotechnology career pathway for public high school students in the District. The flagship schools in this effort are McKinley Technology High School in Northeast, DC and Ballou Senior High School in Southeast, DC.
October 2014: CASE was named to lead the DC STEM NETWORK . We are working closely with the Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) to develop a robust network in support of STEM education in the nation's capital.
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Julie P. Edmonds, Ph.D.
Director, DC STEM Network
Dr. Edmonds taught university classes for seven years in Australia before obtaining her Ph.D. in molecular marine biology. During her postdoctoral training at NIH in the U.S. she also volunteered at First Light. She joined CASE in 1999 after 5 years in the biotechnology industry. She takes the lead on all programs for elementary teachers as well as First Light and has primary responsibility for financial and administrative management of CASE. She also plays an active role in DC Biotech. Dr. Edmonds serves as the Education and Public Outreach lead for two major NASA grants to CIW research laboratories: the MESSENGER mission to the planet Mercury and Carnegie’s NASA Astrobiology Institute team. In this connection, she has worked on nationwide educational outreach products and programs such as the design of instructional materials for teachers and instruction of teacher workshops focused on planetary science, life science, and astrobiology. She is the Director of the newly launched DC STEM Network, a seminal collaborative of organizations, schools, companies, parents, and government agencies, which is increasing access to high quality STEM experiences for all DC students.
Marlena L. Jones, M.S.
Coordinator of Programs, CASE
Ms. Jones joined DCBiotech/CASE in 2007. She is the coordinator and instructor for the summer biotechnology workplace program for high school students at McKinley High School. Throughout the school year she provides a variety of services to teachers, administrators, and students, including enhancing and implementing options within the biotechnology academy career pathway.
Prior to joining CASE, she was the Director of The Discovery Center for Cell and Molecular Biology at Catholic University of America. The Discovery Center is a science training facility for junior high and high school students and teachers. Since 1993, Ms. Jones designed and implemented several of their programs – including the “What If?” Laboratory afterschool program for students, the Gene Search Project for rising high school seniors, and was editor-in-chief of the newsletter, The Biology Discoverer. She was instrumental in the training of almost 20,000 student participants in the Discovery Series and Outreach Biotechnology Loaner Laboratory.
Ms. Jones received her Master of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Catholic University. In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology with high honors from the University of Maryland College Park where she became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She has extensive experience in teaching laboratory science at the college and high school levels.
Katia Grigoriants, M.A.
Strategic Partnerships Manager, DC STEM Network and CASE
Katia works to increase access to high quality STEM learning opportunities in the District by creating and implementing the development, communications, outreach, and strategic plans through the DC STEM Network.
Previously, Katia worked with other collective impact initiatives and at a small nonprofit creating and teaching violence prevention curricula to middle and high school students in Montana. She has a background in nonprofit management and collective impact and brings 7 years of experience in strategic planning, program management, strategic communications, and partnership building.
She graduated from Marquette University with a Master's in Public Service and Nonprofit Administration. She currently serves as the Operations Director for Young Education Professionals' National Board. Katia was a 2012-2014 Trinity Fellow and a 2014 Education Pioneer DC Metro Graduate Fellow.
Mr. Brandenburg is a DC native and a veteran teacher of (mostly) middle-school mathematics in the DC Public School system. His math teams at John R. Francis and Alice Deal Junior High Schools have won a plurality of the MathCounts competitions held in DC for public, private, parochial, and charter schools over the past 23 years. He has also taught teacher workshops on use of technology in teaching math, has put together an original “Math On the Mall” tour inspired by the one invented by Dr. Florence Fasanelli, and has translated a dynamic geometry software package known as Geometrix from the French into English. Because of his interest in hands-on astronomy and science, he has built several telescopes from scratch, and about 5 years ago, he took over the weekly telescope-making workshop sponsored by the National Capital Astronomers, where he shows people how to grind, polish, figure, and aluminize mirrors, as well as make the rest of the telescope. He has also been having a good time as the lead teacher for the First Light Saturday program since 2006 and is a mentor teacher for the CASE Summer Astrobiology for Teachers program.
Director, Math for America DC
Ms. Abrams was educated in Poland and after emigrating to the U.S. obtained a Bachelor of Science in Finance and International Business from New York University, Stern School of Business in 2002. She received a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education from American University in May, 2009. After working for almost 12 years in financial services organizations in New York City, she relocated to Washington DC in 2006 to join Teach for America as a mathematics teacher in a Public Charter High School. In August 2008, Ms. Abrams joined CASE as Director of Math for America DC. She continues to tutor in a Saturday remedial math program which helps under-achieving students in grades 9 and 10.
Toby M. Horn, Ph.D.
CASE (co-director, RETIRED)
thorn at carnegiescience dot edu
Dr. Toby, whose doctoral degree is in molecular biology, directed the Biotechnology outreach program for Virginia Tech before joining CASE in December, 2001. Prior to working at Tech, she taught at Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, where, in 1985, she established one of the first pre-college biotechnology programs in the country. She taught more than 4000 Jefferson students basics to research-level biotechnology through hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory learning that connects practical laboratory work and mathematics with vanguard discoveries. Dr. Toby is past president of the National Association of Biology Teachers. She was named a 2009 Bruce Alberts Excellence in Education Awardee of the American Society for Cell Biology. (Dr. Toby's web page)
Senior Scientific Advisor
Dr. Singer is the founder of First Light (1989) and CASE (1993). Both programs are directed primarily toward improving STEM education in DC public schools. She carried out research in biochemistry and molecular biology at the National Institutes of Health for more than 35 years and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (where she has participated in a variety of science education projects) and recipient of the National Medal of Science. She was principal investigator for two National Science Foundation grants to the Carnegie Institution for support of teacher professional development in DC public schools. She provides about 30 percent of her time as a volunteer for CASE/First Light.
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Facilities, Equipment & Other Resources
CASE is housed in the historic and fully renovated headquarters building of the Carnegie Institution for Science located close to downtown Washington, DC. CASE offices and instruction areas occupy almost the entire first floor of the building. In addition, CASE has access as needed to other public areas of the building including elegant special event and conference spaces that feature a large reception room, board rooms, marble rotunda, 450-seat auditorium, and historic science library.
CASE teaching facilities include:
a fully equipped teaching laboratory for general science and biotechnology with workspace for 20-25 participants (need picture); teaching lab also has a separate access
a classroom with adjoining preparation room and work space for 20 participants
a Digital Learning center with 20 teaching stations, Intranet and Internet access, smart board, LCD projectors
CASE educational resources include:
a Library with more than 8,000 catalogued text, reference and trade books, scientific and mathematical CD-ROMs and educational/scientific periodicals
A vast range of science classroom kits (FOSS, Insights, STC) for grades Pre K-9
A variety of equipment, chemicals, supplies and manipulatives for hands-on exploration and instruction in mathematics, physical science, earth science, life science, and biotechnology
Research grade digital cameras and time-lapse
13 Compound microscopes and 19 stereomicroscopes including one of each type that has digital output for image capture and manipulation
Digital still and video cameras
Office and Administrative facilities:
CASE Staff are housed in 3 offices, fully equipped with Internet and Intranet, wireless, 2 color laser printers and dedicated high volume fax/scanner/copier. Total Office capacity is 7 persons (currently 5 staff).
Carnegie Institution for Science administration provides CASE with support for human resources, payroll, accounting, grant management, auditing, and information systems.
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The CASE offices are located at 1530 P Street, NW (the corner of 16th and P Streets), three blocks due east of Dupont Circle (the nearest Metro stop) and ten blocks due north of the White House.
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