Susan Marie Terra, a science teacher at Westfield High School (WHS), was presented Voya’s Unsung Heroes Award by Douglas Peters (at left), the company’s K-12 Regional Vice President. The presentation of the $2,000 grant took place on Oct.21 during the WHS Science Faculty meeting presided by Supervisor David Stoneback (at right).  

Terra will use the grant to purchase equipment for laboratory investigations in her Forensics Science classes. Her innovative teaching idea, “Sowing Forensic STEM* Seeds,” is focused on teaching students how to separate, visualize and analyze DNA and how to collect real-time data.

“These experiences will increase my students’ achievements in science knowledge and skills in the use of technology,” stated Terra. “They will sharpen their ability to work in teams, and above all, this project will encourage both STEM learning and career outcomes,” she added.

Sign Up for E-News

Selected from a group of nearly 1,000 applicants, Terra is one of only 100 winners across the country who will receive this award to help fund and bring her program to life. In addition she will now compete with other finalists for one of the top three prizes — an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from Voya Financial.

Voya awards grants to K-12 educators nationwide to honor their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and their ability to positively influence the children they teach.

(* STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)