Two northwest Ohio teachers honored with McKetta awards

October 24, 2019

Trine University’s McKetta Department of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering presented two northwest Ohio high school teachers with 2019 McKetta Outstanding High School Teacher awards on Oct. 23.

Chad Burt, a 1998 Trine University education alumnus and calculus teacher at Wauseon High School, and Kristina Williams, chemistry teacher at Paulding High School, each received a plaque and cash award during a dinner at Caruso’s Restaurant in Angola, Indiana, near the Trine campus. Trine University chemical engineering faculty and the students who provided the nominations, both chemical engineering majors, also attended.

Burt was nominated by senior Brooke Hardy.

“His classes were where I first gathered a passion for mathematics and began considering a career in engineering,” Hardy wrote in the nomination. “Mr. Burt designs his courses so that students take the initiative to work through problems on their own to reinforce class concepts, creating good study habits students can take with them into higher education. Chemical engineers take quite a bit of calculus, and without Mr. Burt’s instruction in high school I would not have been able to successfully complete those courses.”

Williams was nominated by senior Isaac Nice.

“She went above and beyond as a chemistry teacher to ensure every student had the greatest possible opportunity to become capable chemists and successful college students,” he wrote. “In addition to teaching chemistry, she led our school’s Science Olympiad chapter and a college-accredited physics course. She set me on the path to becoming a chemical engineer and pointed me in the direction of Trine, knowing it was the right fit.”

The McKetta award is presented annually to teachers who inspire young minds to pursue careers in math, science and engineering.

“Starting our students off with positive high school mathematics and chemistry experiences are really key in their future success and enjoyment within chemical engineering,” said Amanda Malefyt, Ph.D., chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering. “We are grateful for Chad and Krisi’s assistance in encouraging students like Brooke and Isaac to excel in fields requiring significant STEM skills.”

The award and the McKetta Department of Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering are named for Trine University alumnus and longtime trustee Dr. John J. McKetta Jr. One of the world’s foremost energy experts, McKetta served as an energy advisor to four U.S. presidents and was elected president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He also was vice chancellor and dean of the College of Engineering for the University of Texas system.

Photo: From left, Isaac Nice, Kristina Williams, Chad Burt and Brooke Hardy.

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