The 2020 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards Recognize Seven STEM Educators for Their Innovative Use of Data-Collection Technology

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 6:53 am

Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announce the seven winners of the 2020 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. This year’s winning educators—one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator—were selected by a panel of NSTA-appointed experts for their innovative use of data-collection technology in the science classroom.


Each winning educator received $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend an NSTA conference.


“This year’s winners demonstrate true innovation and creativity when it comes to engaging students in scientific discovery using data-collection technology,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “While school closures are impacting in-person teaching, we are proud to recognize these educators and look forward to our technology supporting these noteworthy projects once schools reopen.”


The 2020 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners include:


Category: Elementary School

Aaron Burke, South Avenue Elementary, Beacon, NY

Media teacher Aaron Burke plans to create a comprehensive curriculum that will provide students in grades K–5 with the opportunity to explore the health of the nearby Hudson River. Students will use data-collection technology, such as dissolved oxygen and turbidity sensors, to monitor water samples from the river, as well as from tanks housing aquatic plants, oysters, and freshwater fish in the school’s library.


Category: Middle School

Colin Pattison, Indian Creek Road Public School, Chatham, Ontario

The technology acquired through this award will help teacher Colin Pattison continue to engage his students in data-collection activities and, in turn, better equip them for a successful transition to high school. This includes using Vernier interfaces and probeware to teach students various scientific concepts including force production, heat retention, and motion detection through hands-on activities.


Annette Simpson, McCleskey Middle School, Marietta, GA

The use of Vernier technology will help science teacher Annette Simpson enhance the in-the-field investigations she conducts with students at a local creek. Now, more students will be able to easily and more frequently conduct chemical and biological assessments of the waterway—and analyze their findings—using 21st century data-collection technology.


Category: High School

Neil Ford, St. Helens High School, St. Helens, OR

This award will help STEM teacher Neil Ford incorporate the Vernier Mini GC™ into classroom labs. Using the technology, students will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on data collection as they perform quantitative analysis of an organic solvent mixture.


Kelley Parks, Forreston Jr./Sr. High School, Forreston, IL

Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Kelley Parks plans to engage her students in various data-collection activities using Vernier technology as part of a project-based curriculum. For example, in a Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education (CASE) lab titled “Energy in Feed,” students will use probeware to determine the energy content of different feedstuffs.


Kristine Schertz, Saugus High School, Santa Clarita, CA

In the Chemistry in the Earth System course, science teacher Kristine Schertz will engage her students in hands-on learning as they investigate the Earth’s heat balance, the greenhouse effect, and climate change. Students will use Vernier carbon dioxide sensors along with materials such as clay, charcoal, and cotton to measure the reduction in carbon dioxide produced from a chemical reaction during the course’s culminating engineering design challenge.


Category: College

Estelle Lebeau, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI

Associate professor of science Estelle Lebeau will have her students use Vernier probeware to test community garden soil samples and water supplies to determine the healthfulness of the growing environment. This investigation will extend the university’s current efforts to provide relevant, real-world, field-based experiences with the goal of improving students’ overall attitudes and comfort levels with chemistry experimentation.


To learn more about the winners of the 2020 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards, visit To find details about the 2021 awards program, visit


About Vernier Software & Technology

Vernier Software & Technology has led the innovation of educational, scientific data-collection technology for 39 years. Vernier was founded by a former physics teacher and employs educators at all levels of the organization. The company is committed to teachers and to developing creative ways to teach and learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With worldwide distribution to over 140 countries, Vernier data loggers are used by educators and students from elementary school to university. Vernier technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students’ critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Vernier business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit