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Hubbard and Liberty teachers selected as Fund for Teacher Fellows for summer Education expedition

Two local educators have been chosen as Fund for Teacher (FFT) Fellows for an upcoming educational adventure this summer. Marla Dull, a teacher at Liberty PK-6, and Becky Buchenic, a teacher at Hubbard Middle School, will embark on a journey out west to enhance their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of astronomy and natural sciences.


“The primary focus of this trip is to gain invaluable experience and knowledge to enhance our classroom pedagogy,” said Marla Dull. “By immersing ourselves in the wonders of astronomy and natural sciences, we hope to enhance our teaching practices and inspire our students with hands-on learning experiences.”


This opportunity began in January when Dull and Buchenic collaborated to research, plan, and submit a proposal. In April, they were awarded a grant, and by May, they had successfully completed their orientation. Dull and Buchenic are among only 363 teachers chosen nationwide.. Fund for Teachers received 893 grant applications nationally, awarding 277 grants to 363 teachers. In Ohio, specifically, there were 24 grant applications, with 12 grants awarded to 19 teachers, including Dull and Buchenic. This is the second time both Dull and Buchenic have been selected as FFT Fellows, their first adventure having taken place in 2019.


“Our 2019 trip was an amazing privilege.  We originally wrote the grant to learn and experience ecosystems and geologic formations of the southwest; the landforms and landscapes are so different from Ohio and we knew this would be a unique experience to share with our students.  However, while we were there, we learned about dark sky communities which then led to our current grant of experiencing night skies without light pollution.  We intend to parlay this experience into not only our classrooms but also STEM family nights in several districts,” said Becky Buchenic.


With the support of a $10,000 Fund for Teachers grant, Dull and Buchenic will enjoy an eleven-day expedition starting in early June. Their itinerary includes attending The Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, stargazing in Grand Teton National Park, exploring other dark sky national parks such as Yellowstone, Arches, Meteor Crater National Natural Landmark and Zion. Additionally, they will visit the Lowell Observatory, the site where Pluto was discovered, to look through the Dyer Telescope at the night sky.

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