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CAC clips: Math professor Demaline loves teaching, watching growth

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 1:00 am

EDITOR’S NOTE — Following is one of a series of stories about award-winning professors.

Beverly Demaline, a full-time professor of mathematics at Central Arizona College since 2008 and current academic assessment coordinator for the college, is one of five recipients of the college’s 2013 George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award.

“There are so many outstanding faculty members at CAC,” Demaline said. “It is extremely humbling to be selected for the Fridell Award.”

Formerly known as the President’s Award, the George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually in memory of Fridell, who died several years ago.

“Beverly is a faculty member who has many talents and has accepted an increasing amount of leadership responsibility at the college,” Deborah Primm, lead mathematics faculty member at CAC, said.

Demaline first came to CAC in August 2008 after teaching math for four years at three separate Arizona high schools.

After first earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and actuarial science from Ohio University in 1997, Demaline toiled as an actuary until 2002. She started her teaching career as a math instructor for an upward bound summer program at Northern Arizona University before pursuing a secondary education master’s degree and a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate at the same university.

Demaline also earned a graduate certificate in applied statistics from Penn State University and is currently working toward a master’s degree in the same subject from the institution.

Since joining CAC, Demaline has served as the sole full-time math faculty member at the San Tan Center, assisting students as an academic adviser and recruiting, mentoring and supervising adjunct faculty member at the center.

“She was essential in helping me become a successful adjunct,” Taryn Whalen explained. “She was always willing to take the time to talk to me or explain how things are done. Her warm heart and dedication to CAC radiates through her actions.”

At CAC, Demaline sits on various college committees, is a member of the Faculty Senate and, in 2012, landed the role of district academic assessment coordinator.

In this position, Demaline is coordinating the college’s new Common Student Learning Outcomes that she helped develop while serving on a CSLO task force. She is working closely with the college’s student affairs assessment coordinator.

In addition to these responsibilities, Demaline teaches developmental and college-level math courses at CAC.

“My first semester at CAC I was fortunate to be enrolled in a math class taught by Professor Demaline,” Kevin Langford, one of her trigonometry students, said. “She thoroughly covers each new concept and encourages questions and input from her students. I credit her for helping me to become more engaged in the classroom and active in campus activities.”

Demaline is invested at CAC.

“I love teaching at CAC,” she said. “It is great to see students grow and accomplish their goals.”

Demaline joins Tatiana Keeling, professor of English; Cynthia Collings, professor of computer information technology; Vanae Carson, professor of history; and Louis Teel, professor of heavy equipment operations, as 2013 George Fridell Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.

Winners are chosen based upon their willingness to further their own knowledge; engage and support students and student knowledge; use a variety of new concepts and teaching methods; and participate in the college’s community activities.

Summer science, STEM camps

“Not your typical science classes!” This is the consensus of students who attended the first CAC Science Camps funded by the APS Foundation at the San Tan Center.

“It was an amazing experience for my son,” Sue Roberts, a San Tan Valley resident, said. “He couldn’t wait to get there every morning and was excited to tell me everything he experienced when I picked him up seven hours later. He already has asked me numerous times to sign him up for next year.”

The first four-day session covered the subjects of chemistry and biology and boasted a total of 24 students moving on to the seventh and eighth grades at 13 different middle schools (four of the 24 students are home-schooled). And although it was held at the college’s center in San Tan Valley, the children came from various Pinal County cities, including Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Coolidge, Casa Grande and Florence.

As is the case with all of CAC’s science camps, there was no cost to register and lunch was included.

In the chemistry portion of the camp, the students participated in a variety of experiments and activities that included the exploration of polymers — or compounds. One such activity had the students combine cornstarch with water in a pool to make a quicksand-like mixture that was especially difficult to wade through. Other polymer activities included de-seeding cotton and using Styrofoam to create spongy foam critters, making superballs and running plastic through pasta-making machines.

Another activity called “Artful Chemistry” taught students that mixtures truly are blends of many things.

“We tested inks and some common beverages to separate the colors using chromatography,” Tammi Janisko, a chemistry professor at CAC who serves as one of the camp’s instructors, explained. “We tried finding the colors with different methods of separation.”

What resulted was the ability of the students to tie-dye their lab coats, which they were allowed to take home.

In the last of the chemistry activities, and perhaps most appealing to parents ready to hand over laundry duties to their children, the students experimented with different methods of getting mustard, chocolate, peanut butter, lip gloss, egg and ink stains out of cotton using commonly-available solutions like club soda, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, hairspray and toothpaste.

On the biology side, the activities were just as plentiful. For starters, students were able to use iPad microscopes to capture pictures of specimens unseen by the naked eye, including minerals, water microbes and plants growing around campus. Students entered their best picture into a camp photo contest displayed at the closing ceremony of the camp.

In an activity called “What the ick?!” the students collected and studied common bacteria found around campus — in a safe and controlled environment, of course.

“The students chose places around campus that they thought might have the most bacteria growing on them,” CAC Professor Crystal McKenna, who instructs the biology portion of the camp, said. “They swabbed the locations, transferred it to a Petri dish and observed their growth two days later to compare which places really were the ‘ickiest’ places on campus.”

Additionally, the children also learned how to extract DNA from a variety of living things — including fruit — studied skull remains of different animals and participated in a large squid dissection.

The camp closed with a presentation by Wildman Phil Rakoci, whose interactive presentation included animals from around Arizona and the Southwest that students were able to see and touch.

“My daughter was reluctant (to attend the camp) at first because she didn’t know anyone,” Melissa Sarraillon of Coolidge said. “But now she is happy that she was given the opportunity to be part of the fun experiments and activities.”

Students were enthusiastic about the camp. According to Suzi Shoemaker, who helped oversee the camp as the APS Foundation’s grant coordinator, some students were sad that the camp was only four days instead of five, while others wanted to stay overnight, just to continue experiments and activities.

“The best feedback we got,” Shoemaker said, “was from a student who said ‘It’s all the stuff you wish you could do in science at school but never get to.’”

Although the middle school camp is completed, it’s still not too late to register for some of CAC’s other science and STEM camps, funded by the APS Foundation and the college’s Science Technology Engineering and Math grant, respectively.

CAC Science Camp, funded by the APS Foundation (incoming eighth- through 10th-graders):

Biology Camp

Signal Peak Campus

June 24-27, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Topics include: microscope use, DNA extraction, bacteria, human enzymes, DNA profile and “crime scene” investigation.

CAC Summer Camp funded by STEM (incoming eighth- through 12th-graders and 2013 high school graduates):

Chemistry Camp

Maricopa Campus

June 24-27, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Topics include: polymers, gases, metals.

For more information or to register for the CAC Science Camp funded by the APS Foundation contact Suzi Shoemaker at 494-5014 or suzi.shoemaker1@centralaz.edu.

For more information or to register for the CAC Science Camp funded by the STEM grant, contact Yvonne Castillo at 494-5493 or stem.program@centralaz.edu.

To register for a camp online, visit http://centralaz.checkboxonline.com/apssscreg.aspx.

The STEM Program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at CAC is financed 100 percent by a five-year federal HSI-STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The total federal funds dedicated to this program are $3,388,503.00.

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