Upper School

Kleckner Scientist in Residence Program

Kleckner Scientist in Residence

Our teachers work with local and national scientists to help bring cutting-edge work and new curriculum to SCH science students. This is done through the Kleckner Scientist in Residence program, an endowed position at SCH honoring Florence Kleckner, beloved science teacher for over three decades in the 1960s-1980s. Mrs. Kleckner inspired hundreds of science students during her teaching years at Springside.

The Kleckner Scientist in Residence does the same, by bringing a talented scientist to SCH Academy each year to work with our students over a three-day period. During this time, students learn about the scientist’s current work and passions, help to collect and analyze data using state-of-the-art equipment supported by the program, and communicate with the scientist by e-mail when doing follow-up labs. Students also may have the opportunity to visit with the scientist at their lab. Current science teachers work with the scientist beforehand to design appropriate investigations for the students and develop a process by which the scientist can mentor the students throughout the year. The Kleckner scientist presents assemblies to appropriate divisions within SCH during the day, and a workshop for area science teachers in the afternoon.

Dr. Alison Sweeney, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania

During Dr. Sweeney’s visit, students observed and dissected specimens to discover how animals use transparency, bioluminescence and reflectance to attract mates, capture food and avoid predators. They looked at the images focused by a mirror in scallop eyes compared to images focused by the lens in a human eye. Students were able to view cilia beating as they moved food particles along the multitasking gill cells.
Dr. Steve May, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University

Dr. May visited Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s 10th grade chemistry class for three days to introduce the students to material science engineering. Dr. May’s visit was incorporated into a new unit where students discussed current global issues, including the need for clean energy. He discussed how material scientists have the tools to manipulate materials at the atomic level. In class, students built their own Nanocrystalline Solar Cells, recreating the process of photosynthesis and generating electricity from light using natural dyes from berries. These cells are the basis for alternative possibilities in solar cell technologies.
Dr. Tracy Quirk, Assistant Professor, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, Drexel University.

Over a three-day period, Quirk worked with students on wetland studies while introducing them to her current research at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Quirk’s visit included a field trip to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum Marsh, and a workshop for teachers on integrating wetland studies into their science curriculums.