The 2018 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards Name Seven Winning Educators for Their Innovative Use of Data-Collection Technology

BEAVERTON, Oregon, April 12, 2018 — Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announced the seven winners of the 2018 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. A panel of NSTA-appointed experts chose the winning educators—one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator—for their innovative use of data-collection technology in the science classroom.

Each winner was recognized at the 2018 NSTA National Conference in Atlanta, GA, on March 16, 2018, and received $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the conference.

“From modeling complex space environments to testing robotic vehicles, this year’s winning educators have designed projects that truly embrace hands-on learning through data collection,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “These projects showcase how data-collection technology helps students understand important scientific concepts while engaging them in meaningful learning.”

This year’s Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners include:

Category: Elementary School

Rachel Hallett-Njuguna, Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School, Sanford, FL

Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School’s Space Lab engages students in thinking about space science and working as scientists, astronauts, and engineers. Space Lab teacher Rachel Hallett-Njuguna will have students in grades K–5 model complex systems, such as a Mars habitat, and use LabQuest 2 devices and an assortment of Vernier sensors to collect authentic data.

Category: Middle School

Robert Hodgdon, Richmond Hill Middle School, Richmond Hill, GA

Science teacher Robert Hodgdon engages students in real-world ecological investigations to help them develop STEM career-readiness skills. An example of this includes students using Vernier data-collection technology, such as a pH sensor, to understand the biotic and abiotic factors relevant to their local habitats such as tidal marshes, ephemeral wetlands, and relic forests.

Leah LaCrosse, McCormick Junior High School, Huron, OH

Leah LaCrosse believes it’s important for students to understand the short- and long-term implications of being responsible citizen scientists in the community. As such, 8th graders will participate in a year-long project in which they will use Vernier technology to collect air, water, and soil samples to study the community’s impact on nearby Lake Erie.

Category: High School

George Hademenos, Richardson High School, Richardson, TX

As part of a STEM-based project, George Hademenos challenged his students to design, model, construct, test, and navigate a robotic vehicle. Students used the ROAVEE (Remotely Operated Amphibious Vehicle for Environmental Exploration), which was equipped with Vernier sensors, to collect environmental data from areas not easily or safely accessible to students, such as in a lake and inside a drainage tunnel.

Misty Heredia, Los Fresnos High School, Los Fresnos, TX

As a teacher at a predominately Hispanic, economically-disadvantaged school, Misty Heredia believes expanded access to hands-on technology will help all students improve their comprehension and district assessment scores. Heredia plans to engage her physics students in various inquiry-based investigations utilizing Vernier technology, including an impulse and falling phones activity, in which students design labs based on their experiences with broken cell phones due to accidental falls.

Bob Talbitzer, Kearney High School, Kearney, NE

The collection and analysis of data is a crucial component of the learning environment in Bob Talbitzer’s high-school biology classroom. To understand how oxygen is correlated to the creation of energy at the cellular level, students will use Vernier technology to design a fish respirometer, which will allow them to collect and analyze data on goldfish oxygen usage under different current velocities.

Category: College

Marielle Postava-Davignon, Southern Vermont College, Bennington, VT

Assistant professor Marielle Postava-Davignon will implement a long-term ecological study in which students will map the campus’ maple trees and track how climate change affects the trees and their syrup production. Student will use Vernier technology to measure soil moisture and temperature, soil pH, air humidity and temperature, and more, as well as to track the amount of photosynthetically active radiation available to the trees.

To learn more about the 2018 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards and to find details about the 2019 awards program, visit

About Vernier Software & Technology

Vernier Software & Technology has led the innovation of scientific data-collection technology for 37 years. Vernier was founded by a former physics teacher and employs educators at all levels of the organization. The company is committed to teachers and to developing creative ways to teach and learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With worldwide distribution to over 140 countries, Vernier data loggers are used by educators and students from elementary school to university. Vernier technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students' critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Vernier business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit

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