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Alumnus named Science Teacher of the Year

  • Jeff Bouwman, '03, (center) has been named the 2019 Middle School Science Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Posted on January 09, 2019

Jeff Bouwman, '03, a science teacher at Shumate Middle School in Gibraltar, Michigan, has been named the 2019 Middle School Science Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Bouwman has been teaching science in the Gibraltar School District for 10 years and is also an adjunct science education professor at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. 

"It was such an honor and a humbling experience to be nominated and to receive the award," said Bouwman. "It's exciting to see others taking notice of the special science programs we are putting in place for our students and the great things we are doing in Gibraltar."

Bouwman was recognized for the unique opportunities and programs he has established for his students, including raising and researching lake sturgeon through the DNR Sturgeon for Tomorrow program, and the DNR Salmon in the Classroom project. 

"Programs like these make science come alive and help create contagious enthusiasm in students," he said. "It's all about real-world application. I've always said you learn science by doing science because science is something you do, not something you Google."

Bouwman was recently named a Solar System Ambassador by NASA for participating in educational programs such as GLOBE, an international science and education program that provides students with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process.

In September 2016, he helped launch the first WeatherSTEM weather station in Michigan. Data collected by the weather station is utilized to enhance STEM education, keep the community informed and safe, and is shared with GLOBE.

Bouwman said he received a top-notch education from Grand Valley and the College of Education. "I was pushed to be my best," he said. "I received great content knowledge, was well prepared for my profession and had the privilege of working alongside great mentors while student teaching."

He will receive the Middle School Science Teacher of the Year award during the annual MSTA conference in March in Grand Rapids.