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Mahopac High School geosciences teacher Heather McArdle from Ossining, New York has been named the 2014 American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Foundation’s Teacher of the Year.

Heather McArdle is an award-winning geoscience teacher from Mahopac High School in Mahopac, New York. She is the author of three published geoscience lab manuals, creator of ‘Living the Earth Sciences’ web page and has taught both high school and college aged students in fields of geoscience for more than 17 years.

A colleague at her school gave praise of her teaching methods, sharing that Ms. McArdle’s students “are taken into the field, taught to research and read primary resources and to write in the scientific style, and they are introduced to real world examples of careers in the geosciences.” She was described as selflessly dedicated to high standards of geoscience education both inside and beyond her classroom. In her own words, she describes herself as enthusiastic about teaching the Geosciences.

McArdle is passionate about helping young students connect with earth science already at their fingertips. “Few teenagers are aware of their individual impact on society – and as consumers, their economic choices are modified with improved awareness,” said McArdle. She shared that she enjoys “demonstrating what the geosciences are, what geologists do, and laying out the burgeoning job opportunities.” Her inspiration encourages her students to become aware of opportunities and global concerns that they may have otherwise not considered.

Her own educational pursuits led her to earning a Bachelor of Science dual degree in Geology and Secondary science education from SUNY Oneonta and a Masters of Science degree with an emphasis in Secondary Science Education from Syracuse University.

The honor comes with a $6,000 prize from the AAPG Foundation to be split between McArdle and Mahopac High School. She will also receive an expense paid trip to the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston on April 6-9, where she will be presented with her award at the All-Convention Luncheon. A feature interview with McArdle will be published in the April convention issue of the AAPG EXPLORER.

The AAPG has six sections of the United States and they carefully judge, select and submit candidates to a panel of national judges. The five candidates who will receive honorable mentions across the US include Sabrina Ewald from McKinney, Texas, Madelyn Percy from Austin, Texas, Chung Khong from San Jose, California, Debra Stiles of Helena, Montana, and Alexandra Holter from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The AAPG Foundation was established in 1967 with the primary goal of providing a source of funding for educational, charitable and scientific objectives which directly and indirectly benefit the geologic profession and the general public. The Teacher of the Year award honors that intention by giving this accolade to the heart of geoscience educational initiatives – grades K-12. The Teacher of the Year Award began in 1996 and has since honored 17 outstanding earth science teachers across the country.

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