STEM Educators Win 2019 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards

Vernier software logo (drawing of slide rule)

Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announce the seven winners of the 2019 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. This year’s winning educators—one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator—were selected by a panel of NSTA-appointed experts for their innovative use of data-collection technology in the science classroom.

Each winning educator received $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the annual NSTA National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri on April 1114, 2019. 

The 2019 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners include:

Category: Elementary School

Covey Denton, Greenfield School, Wilson, NC

Covey Denton helps students form real-world connections by using Vernier sensors to study the arctic biome and the animals that live in these cold climates. Students use Vernier temperature probes to study the thermal insulation qualities of feathers, air, and blubber to discover the unique adaptations that allow arctic animals to survive.

Category: Middle School

Rachel Arbor, Altona Middle School, Longmont, CO

First-year teacher Rachel Arbor uses data-collection technologies to encourage students to make connections among interdisciplinary subjects such as science, math, and music. Through hands-on collaborative work, students study how energy and waves move through our world. Students are able to directly observe scientific phenomena such as albedo, amplitude, frequency, and velocity.

Christopher Sindt, Washington Middle School, Dubuque, IA

As part of a STEAM-based project, Christopher Sindt challenged his students to plan, create, design, implement, and market a model roller coaster track. Students used photogates to track the velocity of a marble through the track and validate their claims that their roller coasters were safe for patrons using accurate data.

Category: High School

Anne Marie Lavelle, St. Edward High School, Lakewood, OH

Ann Marie Lavelle believes it is important for students to understand the environmental impact of pollution on freshwater ecosystems. Students used Vernier technologies to conduct scientific investigations on water quality samples to study the impact of agricultural runoff, pollution, algae blooms, destruction of habitat, and beach fouling from nearby Lake Erie.

Jocelyn Virtudes, Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg, MD

In a co-taught chemistry class, special education/science teacher Jocelyn Virtudes encouraged students to explore how the identity and concentration of Hofmeister anions impact the behavior of macromolecules such as egg whites. Students used Vernier temperature probes to record temperature data during clear-to-cloudy transitions. The scattering of light as salt concentration increases was also studied using a turbidity sensor.

Patrick Wells, Holy Spirit High School, Conception Bay South, NL Canada

Patrick Wells believes sensation and perception are important for the study of science and uses Vernier data-collection devices to support student inquiry. His student-centered learning model encourages students to observe, think, challenge prior misconceptions, and resolve questions with group members and teachers, leading to the formation of durable memories.

To learn more about the 2019 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards and to find details about the 2020 awards program, visit