University High School teacher wins chemistry award


By Amanda Foust



Erica Posthuma-Adams, chemistry teacher at University High School in Carmel and 14-year educator, has recently been awarded the 2014 Regional Award for Excellence in High School Teaching from the Division of Chemical Education. She will officially accept her award at the 2014 American Chemical Society Central Regional Meeting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 30.

Much of Adams’ life includes chemistry, whether it be through learning or teaching. She studied chemistry education at IU Bloomington and received her Masters in Education at Indiana Wesleyan University. She began teaching and soon discovered that University High School offered her great opportunities to pursue what she loves on a deeper level.

“At University I have smaller classes, more opportunities for exploration and am able to bring them back and share with students,” she said.

Adams’ favorite method of teaching is through modeling instruction. She said this method transformed the way she taught because it immerses students in the process of doing science. With this method the students take center stage.

She said: “I moved to University High School because they were such a supportive environment for modeling instruction and helped us become leaders in our fields.”

There were some requirements to receiving the award. Adams was nominated by Dr. Robert Pribush, professor of chemistry at Butler University. She then had to write her philosophy of education and supply a document and a letter of support by her supervisor Chuck Webster and a former student.

She said the organization was looking for a novel approach to how students learn and people who are pursuing advanced degrees within chemical sciences or endeavors to stay current on events within their field.

“I talk about modeling at the local, state and national level and I’ve been invited to speak many places,” she said. “I feel like before I had a career and now I have a profession. I do all of these things so I can learn to be better to get my students to understand chemistry.”

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