Volusia County science teacher selected as Society for Science advocate

Janirette Chavez Rodriguez teaches at River Springs Middle School in Orange City

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A Volusia County science teacher just received a big honor from the Society for Science.

Janirette Chavez Rodriguez teaches sixth grade science at River Springs Middle School in Orange City. She was chosen as a Society for Science Advocate. The goal is to inspire underserved and underrepresented students to pursue scientific research projects and careers in STEM. As part of the program, Chavez Rodriguez receives a $3,000 stipend.

“I’m super excited about it. When I got selected to be an advocate for Society for Science, I went to Washington, D.C., over the summer. I learned about tools and resources I can use in my classroom to help students from underrepresented groups, African American, Hispanics, Asians, and students that are under the low income. And right now, I’m implementing everything in my classroom, I’m taking my students to do scientific research at the Marine Environmental Center in New Smyrna Beach. We’re going to go in the water, they’re going to collect data, so they are super excited about it. I’m able to coordinate now a club, like a science club, that we’re going to do for scientific research. And I learned so much there,” she said.

Chavez Rodriguez moved to Florida six years ago from Puerto Rico, where she served in the U.S. Army. And while she says she is also certified to teach high school, she loves middle school because it’s such a pivotal age.

“And I can teach in university, but I really like sixth grade because here is when they are starting to make decisions on their own to knowing and selecting preferences. And I really think this is the part where I can put that seed in the student’s hearts about STEM investigation and interest so they can grow up and look into fields related to STEM and research and become the next professional scientists, researchers of the future. So I think this grade and middle school, in general, is one of the most important rates in the students’ life decisions,” she said.

Society for Science is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1921. It may be best known for its Science News and Science News Explore, as well as outreach programs working to ensure all students have the opportunity to pursue STEM careers.

You can learn more about Society for Science online at https://www.societyforscience.org/.

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About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.