Getting to teaching's roots

After securing a highly competitive fellowship, Hoover High School science teacher Zovig Minassian will head to Washington, D.C. this fall, where she will spend 11 months honing her professional development skills at the U.S. Department of Energy.

She is among just 27 educators who won the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, hosted by the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology.

More than 200 teachers competed for the appointment during a rigorous application process.

"It's a big honor even to be a semi-finalist, let alone being selected as a fellow," Minassian said. "The first few days, I was totally jumping up in the air. But it's (been) about three weeks, so I'm a little calmer now."

With more than 20 years of teaching experience, Minassian has taught science at Hoover High the past 11 years, educating special education students, English learners and college-bound students.

Minassian will be among several teachers who will work out of the Department of Energy's Office of Science, where she will collaborate with other fellows, attend conferences and take part in discussions with leaders in education policy.

Other fellows will work at either the National Science Foundation or NASA.

"We couldn't be sending someone who could represent us better," said Hoover High Principal Jennifer Earl. "We are proud and excited, but the school will absolutely miss her for the year."

The fellowship's aim is to provide direct communication between grade-school teachers and those who shape education policy as it relates to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM classes.

When Minassian returns to Glendale Unified, she plans to coach and provide resources for new science teachers, who often face challenges when first enter the classroom.

"The first several years can be pretty demanding and difficult," she said.

She is eager to gain insight into the national education perspective during her stay in the nation's capital.

"We know what's happening in our community and in our state," Minassian said. "When you are in D.C., you learn more about educational policies throughout the nation. It will give me a different background on where [policies] are coming from."


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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