by Sarah Wardell
In middle school, Kimberly Schoch saw her science teachers as passionate—albeit a little quirky—who truly made science fun.
“I had previously been planning on pursuing a career in writing or journalism,” said Schoch, a senior secondary education major. “But all of a sudden, I found myself caught up in the science world.”
Schoch is now exploring the world of science even more deeply as a recipient of the J. Franklin Hyde Scholarship in Science Education, a three-year award designed to give selected students an avenue to pursue a sincere interest in teaching science at the secondary level.
Funded by the Dow Corning Foundation, the scholarship is staggered so three students are receiving funds during the year—a junior, a senior and a fifth-year teaching intern.
A unique aspect of the program is that each recipient receives the opportunity to spend one summer as an intern at Dow Corning. Schoch spent the summer of 2013 at Dow Corning as a chemistry intern within the Copolymer Development group, where she learned about the process of experimental design.
“My internship involved method research, and the testing of products that I synthesized in the lab,” Schoch said. “This is done to determine their properties for later application in beauty care and household products.”
Fellow Hyde recipient Brittany O’Brien is now a fifth-year teaching intern placed at Lowell High School, where she is teaching 10th- and 11th-grade chemistry. She adds that the Hyde Scholarship allowed for new opportunities that helped her learn and grow as an educator.
“I will be forever grateful for this award,” she said.
Trailblazing a research path
Established in 1991 by contributions from the Dow Corning Foundation, the J. Franklin Hyde Scholarship pays tribute to former Dow Corning research scientist James Franklin Hyde (see below).
Hyde believed that if science teachers could take scientific principles and apply them to everyday life, students would take more of an interest in science.
As for Schoch, she wishes to equip students with this same philosophy once she becomes an educator.
“I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to be that person … the one who encourages a non-science student to look at the world around them in a different way, to really see the impact of science on their life.”
Who was James Franklin Hyde?
Throughout his 40-year career, James Franklin Hyde pioneered silicone research and development at Dow Corning, and he credits his inspiration to the encouragement of a remarkable science teacher. He is commonly referred to as “the father of commercial silicone,” and laid the foundation for future products to be developed—everything from common products to healthcare innovations.