LIVERMORE FALLS – When she was younger, Michelle DeBlois of Turner dreamed of becoming a marine biologist and studying wild dolphins.

Though she reigned in her dream somewhat to raise a family, she is still living the life of a woman with a love for science. During the school year, she teaches and during the summer, she works with an aquatic biologist as a field assistant testing the quality of Maine lakes.

DeBlois, a sixth-grade Livermore Falls Middle School teacher, has been named an Amgen Foundation-National Science Teacher Association’s New Science Teacher Academy fellow. The academy is a professional development initiative created to help promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom knowledge and improve teacher content knowledge.

DeBlois was selected from hundreds of applications from across the country to participate in a year-long e-mentoring professional development program through the New Science Teacher Academy.

She is the only one from Maine selected this year.

“I’ve always loved science. I love the outdoors. I love nature. It just interests me how everything is interconnected. That’s why I love life-science.”

DeBlois, who grew up in Greene and Auburn, graduating from Edward Little High School in 1989, attended the University of Maine at Farmington where she earned degrees in environmental science and elementary education. She is working on getting her master’s degree in literacy at the University of Southern Maine.

DeBlois is a third-teacher at the Livermore Falls school and had spent one previous year there as an education technician. This year she is teaching science, language arts and reading.

Through the fellowship, DeBlois said, she’ll get a bunch of benefits, including a free membership to the association for a year and attending the national conference in March in New Orleans.

During the year-long program, she’ll also participate in Web seminars on the Internet for free and participate in e-mentoring. She’ll be assigned a mentor who will be matched to her to work with.

DeBlois will be responsible for doing three inquiring units where the teacher and students learn together through hands-on science activities. Her posts of her intent, progress and self-reflection will be viewed by all of the mentors and fellow like herself.

To earn the fellowship, she had to prove that she was trying to improve herself as a science teacher, DeBlois said.

She participated in a Maine Math and Science event as well as pilot projects doing student science assessments.

“I’m really excited to actually be allowed to do the professional development, especially the way budgets for school systems are these days,” DeBlois said. “This way, I really get to collaborate with other science teachers. I get to go to New Orleans. There is a falcon rehabilitation program and I’m going to get to see science in action and talk to different scientists. I’m very honored I get to represent my state and my school.”

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