New Rochelle High School Science Teacher Selected for STEM Teaching Fellowship Program

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New Rochelle High School Science Teacher Selected for STEM Teaching Fellowship Program

September 28, 2015 - 15:48

Valerie Zumbo teaches Chemistry at New Rochelle High School

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STEM Leadership Center Announces Science Educators Selected For STEM Teaching Fellowship Program to engage ten middle and high school teachers in 16-month professional development experience designed to transform science education.

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- The STEM Leadership Center today announced the ten science teachers who have been selected as the 2015/16 cohort for the STEM Teaching Fellowship, a competitive program that provides professional training experiences to outstanding New York State certified science teachers. The fellows have undergone a rigorous selection process by a panel of their peers and STEM professionals.

Among them is Valerie Zumbo, a Chemistry teacher at New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, NY. After 8 years of teaching Regents and Honors Chemistry, Zumbo will begin teaching Advanced Placement Chemistry this fall and will begin her 9th year as adviser to the Science Honor Society.

Valerie Zumbo graduated from Siena College with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Manhattanville College. She also holds a certificate in Gifted Education from Brooklyn College.

In addition to work experience at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and IBM, Valerie brings research experience to the classroom. As a fellow of the Columbia University Science Research Program, Valerie worked with graduate and doctoral students in the Mechanical Engineering department at Columbia University to study the synthesis and properties  of graphene, a material expected to revolutionize electronics. In 2012, Valerie was chosen to represent the Columbia Science Research Program and traveled to Southeast Asia where she offered professional development to teachers at the Tenby School in Selangor, Malaysia and visited a variety of educational institutions throughout Singapore. Valerie loves to challenge her students with the “Singapore questions” she brought home from her trip and lives by the motto “Think like a proton – stay positive!”  

In addition to Valerie Zumbo, yhe 2015/16 fellows represent both middle and high schools from Dutchess, Nassau, Ulster, Rockland, and Westchester Counties and the Bronx:

  1. Deborah Kravchuck of Hyde Park
  2. Andrew Wallace of the Bronx
  3. Ann Marie Lipinsky of Katonah-Lewisboro
  4. Terrance Bissoondial of Hewlitt-Woodmere
  5. Kathleen VanBaren of Onteora
  6. Kelly Cappa of Rye Neck
  7. Kimberly Fleming of White Plains
  8. Doria Hillsman of East Ramapo
  9. Randy Gunnel of Harrison

Photos and biographies of the Fellows are available on

"By training these teachers, we have an opportunity to enrich STEM teaching and learning for thousands of students in our region with the goal to ignite interest and inspire more careers in science and engineering," said Lawrence Perretto, Executive Director of the STEM Leadership Center. "We are thrilled to partner with Regeneron for a second year to deliver this ground-breaking STEM Teaching Fellowship program to ten more teachers."

The STEM Teaching Fellowship, made possible by a $75,000 grant from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is presented in collaboration with Teachers College of Columbia University and the NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project.

"At Regeneron, we are committed to fostering the future of biomedical innovation and believe that teachers are an integral influence in a student's choice to pursue a STEM career. We are proud to support the STEM Leadership Center's STEM Teaching Fellowship Program for the second year," said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Regeneron and President, Regeneron Laboratories, Regeneron. "The STEM Teaching Fellowship Program is a powerful asset to help bridge the shortage of highly-skilled science teachers who will empower the next-generation of thinkers and innovators."

The STEM Teaching Fellowship is designed to give science teachers the tools to deliver higher-quality instruction based on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and real-world applications. This 16-month program consists of graduate coursework leading to a graduate certificate in STEM Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a two-week laboratory research mentorship at Regeneron's Tarrytown, NY labs. The Fellowship concludes with targeted professional development from the STEM Leadership Center to help Fellows synthesize coursework and research experiences to reform classroom practices.

Felicia Moore Mensah, PhD., Associate Professor of Science Education and Program Coordinator, Science Education Program, Teachers College, Columbia University, said, "This exciting initiative brings together STEM education leaders and teachers who will be integrating STEM content and pedagogy. We are pleased to support this exciting initiative through NASA's Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project. We are excited about the many new approaches to STEM education that all participants will experience."

For more detailed information about the Fellowship visit the STEM Leadership Center website at: