WASHINGTON, PA (April 6, 2015) — A Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) alumnus, Graig Marx ‘02, is the recipient of the 2015 High School Educator award from the Carnegie Science Center due to his efforts in teaching at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh.
He is recognized for the emphasizes he places on teaching the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline, which helps students from an early age develop creative thinking and problem solving skills.
“[By teaching in this discipline] students can approach problem solving in a different way,” Marx said. “They see how science is related, and I never get asked, ‘When am I going to use this again?’”
The Carnegie Science Center gives the Carnegie Awards – one of which is the High School Educator Award – to those who show outstanding science and technology achievements in Western Pennsylvania. It was established in 1997, and aims to spotlight educators of all grade levels who contribute to the fields of science, technology, and education in local industrial, academic, and environmental fields.
Marx’s students have collaborated with W&J professors and worked on various projects using the STEM discipline, including a prototype for an artificial leg that can be made with a 3-dimensional (3-D) printer at a cost of less than $20. The goal for Marx’s students is to help children in third world countries who cannot afford to purchase an expensive artificial leg each time they have a growth spurt.
Marx’s students have also participated in a project to develop a new girls’ lacrosse and field hockey helmet. The helmet is designed to prevent concussions, but still gives the players the freedom to excel in the sport without the hindrance of a regular helmet.
“The most rewarding moments are seeing a kid doing something they thought they could never do,” Marx said.
“A couple of things that W&J does to prevent that is they provide chances for internships and job shadowing, and I didn’t take advantage of that. So I think if I did I would have been sure that I didn’t want to be a doctor,” Marx said.
Using his liberal arts experiences at W&J, he changed his path and decided to obtain a Master’s of Science in Education at Duquesne University.
Marx would like to share some advice given to him about graduate school by his mentor and fellow Carnegie Science Award recipient Ed Schroth, “Pick a city you think you are going to want to live in, and move.”
Marx attributes this advice to the idea that experiencing life outside of W&J will help unsure students find their true calling and know exactly what they want to do. For Marx, he is happy teaching in the classroom at Winchester Thurston and credits W&J for helping to shape his effective teaching style.
“I just want to thank the school,” Marx said. “The reason I am who I am now is largely a mixture of the professors I had here and I would especially like to thank Dr. Harris, Dr. Leonard, and Dr. McCracken.”
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.
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