Woodland chemistry teacher receives regional award


Stephanie Marshall, a science teacher at Woodland High School, received the Glenn and Jane Crosby Award for Excellence for the Northwest Region for 2023.

The award recognizes Marshall’s quality of “teaching using unusually effective teaching methods,” alongside her dedication to the field of chemistry and chemical science, stated a news release from Woodland Public Schools.

Marshall was nominated for the award after media coverage of her teaching style in 2021 caught the eye of Martha Dibblee, a member of the Portland chapter of the American Chemical Society.

“She reached out and submitted my nomination on behalf of the Portland chapter,” Marshall stated in the release. “Additionally, I provided my philosophy toward teaching, my curriculum vitae, and letters of recommendation from colleagues.”

Over her teaching career, Marshall learned not everyone loves science as much as she does, but that the teacher can make all the difference.

“I think teachers who make chemistry boring are doing a disservice to students. Some students might hate science, but they’ll love at least one of the activities we do in my classes,” Marshall stated in the release. “My goal is to find ways to get all students to enjoy being in my classroom so they can have that ‘light bulb moment’ and suddenly become engaged to understand more.”

Marshall’s passion for teaching started at a young age. She knew that was the career path she wanted to take when her teacher in fourth grade let her lead a read-along activity.

As for her decision to become a chemistry teacher, Marshall said she has always enjoyed science and appreciates the challenges a subject like chemistry presents to students.

“Chemistry isn’t easy, but it makes the world a more understandable place,” she said. “If I can foster an environment where students feel comfortable learning, question what’s happening in the world around them, and have fun at the same time, then I feel I have done my job.”

Marshall focuses on showing students that failure is a certainty for scientists, the release stated.

During her classes, Marshall also uses a wide variety of experiments for students and develops new ones frequently.

“Chemistry is a great catalyst for curiosity with so many fun experiments and demonstrations that can make students question what they just saw. People learn much more effectively when they’re curious,” Marshall stated in the release. “Critical thinkers navigate the world better by simply being able to question their environment and form their own opinions based on evidence and hands-on experience.”

Marshall will be presented the Glenn and Jane Crosby Northwest Region Award at Montana State University during the Northwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, which is set for June 28 to June 30 during an expenses-paid trip. She will receive a cash award as well as $450 for school STEM activities.

The Glenn and Jane Crosby Northwest Region Award recognizes the efforts of extraordinary high school teachers, stated the release. The awardee is selected based on the quality of their teaching methods and their ability to challenge and inspire students while keeping up to date in advances made in the field of chemistry.