Eighth-grade science teacher Marilyn Garza teaches an intriguing, engaging and creative curriculum at Santa Barbara Junior High School in Santa Barbara. With a degree in materials science engineering, Garza was instrumental in creating Let's Explore Applied Physical Science (LEAPS), a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program that brings doctoral candidates in physics, engineering, biology and chemistry into her science classroom to work with students in small groups and whole-class scenarios. Originally a three-year grant, the LEAPS program received another five years of funding when NSF judges said the program had not only met its goals but far exceeded them. Garza also created a highly successful Eighth-Grade Science Fair involving representatives from the local science industry as well as members of the university science faculty and staff. Concerned that non-English-speaking parents were not attending the science fair, she created Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE), a bilingual family science night for students with non-English-speaking parents and English-speaking parents alike. Although many of her students are of low socioeconomic status (SES), her students' exit test scores are the highest in the school and among the highest in the district.
1989 University of California - Berkeley, B.S.