Alumni Stories

Vincent Case

Presidential Award Winning Science and Math Educator

by Mary Conrad

After more than a decade of working with students at the APS School on Wheels Alternative High School, Vincent Case (’06 MA in language literacy and socio-cultural studies) was selected for the nation’s highest teaching honor: the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

To receive the award, Vince travelled with his family to Washington, D.C. He and 103 other teachers attended seminars with national leaders and Nobel Laureates in science and mathematics from the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST), the EPA, the National Science Foundation and others.

“Sometimes you wonder what impact you have,” Vince says. “This was a moment when it was clear. I saw flashbacks to the kids I worked with, students I pushed and didn’t give-up on. I wish my mentors had been there with me.”

Vince implemented an experiential curriculum with extensive real-world, hands-on learning with the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Project (BEMP), New Mexico Watershed Watch and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. His students became partners with UNM students and professors as they collected and analyzed ecological data on the Rio Grande, Bosque and Acequia systems. Most important, his students learned that they can make a difference in their world.

Currently, Vince is the Education Coordinator for the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center – a joint project with APS and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. With his new position, every student in APS has the opportunity to benefit from his experiential education initiatives.

Vince credits many UNM professors and alumni with providing excellent approaches that he used in his class work: Professor William Kline (now Emeritus), Professor Glennabah Martinez in the College of Education. Professor Emeritus Cliff Crawford from the UNM Biology Department worked closely with Vince and his students. Felipe Perea (1973, BAED, UNM) 25-year principal of the School on Wheels was also a key mentor. These people provided a foundation for working with students from all walks of life to help them achieve in the real world.


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