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Admitted 'life-long learner' aims to inspire

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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 12:00 pm

By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

Stacy Stoll said the best way to inspire her students is to remain a student at heart.

A self-proclaimed "life-time learner," Stoll came to Harker Heights High School two years ago, and is continually looking for new ways to relate her chemistry lessons to current events, trends and perhaps most importantly – her students' lives outside of school.

"One of the great things about teaching is passing on to others what it is you love most. Then, seeing those same students exhibit the same excitement that you do for the topic," she said.

"When you can take the topic and relate it to their everyday life, they will explore their world to see what they can find that relates to what you taught them."

Stoll, described as a mentor around the campus, said she was greatly influenced by her general chemistry professor, Dr. Lenore Koczon, while working on her Bachelor of Science degree at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D.

Koczon was her adviser throughout college when Stoll, like many of her students today, was struggling with the rigors of a challenging chemistry course. The two still talk a couple of times a week.

"Stacy has been a mentor on our campus for the last two years, and she continually uses innovative teaching techniques to help her students apply chemistry to their lives outside of school. Her classroom is a buzz of activity," Tiffani Walker, a curriculum instructional specialist at the school, wrote to nominate Stoll for the Killeen Daily Herald's Excellence in Teaching Award.

This week, students in Stoll's class will begin preparations for an end-of-course project. Each student will choose a presentation method ranging from creating a game that involves chemistry concepts, writing a play, singing a song or organizing a debate addressing a hot-button chemistry issue.

"Over the years, I have witnessed many students that know the material, but cannot express what they know with a standard teaching assessment," she said. "So individual projects are a great way for my students to express what they have learned with a medium in which they are comfortable."

Stoll previously worked at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor as a full-time visiting instructor for the department of chemistry and geology.

Stoll earned her Associate of Science degree in natural sciences at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, Calif., her Bachelor of Science in chemistry and biology at Northern State University and her Master of Science degree in chemistry at the University of Nebraska.

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