Salem Teacher to Research with Willamette Professors Through Grant

Two Willamette University chemistry professors were recently awarded a major regional grant that will allow a Sprague High School teacher to work with them on cutting-edge research for the next two summers.

Sarah Kirk and Andrew Duncan, both assistant professors of chemistry, received a $15,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust through the Partners in Science Program. The program provides opportunities for high school science teachers to work with investigators in academic research labs for two summers. Kirk and Duncan have invited Megan Rivera, a science teacher at Sprague, to participate in their summer research program in 2007 and 2008.

The projects Rivera will work on involve the chemical modification of naturally occurring sugar molecules. She will work with Kirk in 2007 to develop novel antibiotics and with Duncan in 2008 to develop new methods for synthetic organic chemistry.

A primary goal of the Partners in Science program is to help high school teachers revitalize their teaching and appreciate the use of inquiry-based methods in the teaching of science.

For more information on the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, visit