Rebecca Grella ‘99 is on a mission to recruit America’s next generation of researchers

Rebecca Grella ‘99 is on a mission to recruit America’s next generation of researchers

Rebecca GrellaTo her students, she’s Mama Grella. To everyone else, she’s one of the best science and math teachers in the nation.

Brentwood High School teacher Rebecca Grella, a PhD candidate in Stony Brook’s Department of Ecology and Evolution, was named one of the top 10 science and math teachers in the U.S. and a 2012 Fellow last week by the Society for Science & the Public (SSP) for her ability to inspire a love of scientific research in the students of her community, many of whom are members of underrepresented minorities and come from families in poverty. She is the only teacher to be awarded this honor in New York State and, in fact, the only 2012 Fellow to be named in the northeastern United States.

Grella, who also received her undergraduate (’99) and master’s (’01) degrees and teaching certification at the University, has created, in her own words, a mini-Stony Brook at Brentwood, complete with a state-of-the-art research lab where she nurtures and guides about 70 students each year in independent research.

“My goal is to see my students rise to their highest potential,” Grella says. “We need more American scientists.”

Her longtime mentor, advisor and friend, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolution Jessica Gurevitch, is delighted but not surprised by Grella’s national recognition.

 

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Last year Grella’s efforts netted $2.1 million in college scholarships awarded to 15 students who received full support at Yale, Brown, Johns Hopkins and other leading universities. Every one of those students did independent research at Stony Brook while in high school.

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Grella plans to continue acting as a liaison between Brentwood High School and Stony Brook University, doing her part to promote the hard sciences and further STEM education in the United States.

“Stony Brook changed my life,” she sums up. “I want to be able to give back to Stony Brook what it has given me. I believe that STEM development is critically important, and that the best way to make progress is to give students the opportunity to do research. My grant from SSP will allow me to solicit the next generation of scientists.”

 

See the full story by Toby Speed online 

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Posted on May 1, 2012, in Alumni, Stony Brook, Students, SUNY. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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