District: Bayonne School District Grades: 9-12Avenue A & 28th Street Bayonne, NJ 07002
Marie Aloia has an educational background in math, physics, chemical engineering, and computer science. The first girl in her family to go to college, she earned two bachelor’s degrees, one from Montclair State University, and 8 years later, one from New Jersey Institute of Technology. While a traditional female career, like teaching, was the last thing on her mind, she was drawn to educational outreach because she herself had received so little career advice. She eventually ran the educational outreach program at Exxon for 25 years until an unexpected layoff. Aloia then received a job offer teaching physical science at Bayonne High School. Nine years later, Aloia has started a research program, science club, engineering program, two FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams, and introduced students to new programs such as Technology Students Association, Young Science Achievers, and American Chemical Society Project SEED. She has been invited, along with her Project SEED students, to do pharmaceutical engineering research with Research Experience for Teachers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology every summer for the last 6 years.
Bayonne High School serves around 2700 students and is composed of economically modest, working class students, about half of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. Bayonne is a culturally diverse area that sits on the New York Harbor, and provides students from all backgrounds with a high quality education.
Aloia was inspired to begin the initial research program after being approached in 2004 by a gifted student who was interested in conducting a science project. By the time this student graduated in 2008, he had won many impressive awards, including Best of Category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) twice. He was also an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist (Intel STS). His success inspired many other students to pursue research, and Aloia started an engineering program to accompany her research program. Support from the Society for Science and the Public Fellowship has allowed students to participate in these competitions and interdepartmental collaborations with the art and math departments at Bayonne High School.
Marie Aloia and her students' write about their experience at Intel ISEF 2012 on the SSP blog.
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