CYPRESS TEXAS — Smith Middle School eighth-grade student Karina Chaidez and Goodson Middle School science campus content instructional specialist Whitney Timmons were notified in separate surprise ceremonies April 12 of their selections as Student and Educator Argonauts who will take part in a scientific expedition this summer through JASON Learning.
JASON Learning, the world-renowned science education organization, chose a select group of Argonauts to join expeditions. Chaidez and Timmons will join an expedition to Costa Rica to work with bees and pollinators, scheduled for July 27-Aug. 2. Through a sponsorship from Chevron, they will participate in an intensive hands-on research experience with resident and visiting scientists engaged in a diversity of projects and activities.
Twenty-two of the 2019 Argonaut team spots were reserved for students and educators from the Houston region – including one student and teacher from CFISD.
Michael Clayton, coordinator of secondary science, visited both Chaidez and Timmons with congratulatory teams including administrators from each campus, Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum & instruction and accountability, and Tom Jackson, Board of Trustees member.
“It is so exciting to see how these adventures have the possibility of changing the worldviews of a student and teacher and how they will go on to affect those around them,” Clayton said.
Smith Middle School eighth-grade student Karina Chaidez hugs her mother, Kathleen Ramos, after she and husband Arturo Chaidez were part of a group that surprised Karina in her science class April 12 with news that she was selected as the CFISD Student Argonaut who will take part in a scientific expedition in Costa Rica in July and August through JASON Learning.
Jackson challenged both recipients with not only learning from their future experiences, but then returning to CFISD and sharing – Timmons with her fellow educators and Chaidez with her peers.
Chaidez first learned about the opportunity in elementary school. She attended a concert for her older sister at Smith Middle School and saw a poster for JASON Learning and becoming an Argonaut. After some research, Chaidez said she knew it was something she couldn’t pass up when she reached eighth grade.
“To go somewhere and be able to experience a new landscape and environment, and be able to research more about plants and animals is unbelievable,” said Chaidez, who would like to become an anesthesiologist. “I’d like to find a way for the gasses anesthesiology uses to be more environmentally friendly.”
Timmons said the draw for the program was spearheading an effort to get more student interest at Goodson. She’s hopeful that her first-hand experience can ultimately lead to others being selected for the opportunity.
“I’ve taught the JASON lessons in my classroom and they do a good job of making science more relevant,” Timmons said. “Students don’t always see the broad application of science until they see all the different avenues that you can use it in.”
Smith Middle School eighth-grade student Karina Chaidez (center) was surprised April 12 in her science class with news that she was selected as CFISD’s Student Argonaut who will take part in a scientific expedition in Costa Rica in July and August through JASON Learning. Joining in on the surprise were (from left) Tom Jackson, Board of Trustees member; Michael Clayton, CFISD coordinator of secondary science; Becky Koop, Smith principal; Chaidez’s parents, Kathleen Ramos and Arturo Chaidez; and Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction and accountability.
Last year’s Argonauts – Cypress Park High School freshman Kasey Hasan and Aragon Middle School science teacher Aimy Mattox – traveled to the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua.
The JASON Project connects students to real science and exploration to inspire and motivate them to pursue careers in the STEM fields. The curriculum was unveiled in CFISD beginning in 2013-2014, coming as a result of a nearly $250,000 grant from Chevron.
Whitney Timmons (left), Goodson Middle School science campus content instructional specialist, speaks with CFISD Board of Trustees member Tom Jackson as Michael Clayton, CFISD coordinator of secondary science, looks on of Timmons being selected as CFISD’s Educator Argonaut. Jackson encouraged Timmons and CFISD’s Student Argonaut, Smith Middle School eighth-grade student Karina Chaidez, to not only learn from their experience, but return and share with their peers.
Smith Middle School eighth-grade student Karina Chaidez (right) talks with Science teacher Meghan Jones (left) following the surprise announcement that Chaidez was selected as CFISD’s Student Argonaut who will take part in a scientific expedition in Costa Rica in July and August through JASON Learning. Jones presented Chaidez with a journal to chronicle her journey
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