Laura Leis, a fifth grade science teacher at Smoky Valley Middle School, Lindsborg, was presented a $500 check as the statewide winner of the 2016 Wendell G. Mohling Foundation Scholarship Award at the USD 400 School Board Meeting on November 14th. The check was presented by the scholarship award founder Carol Mohling and chair of the foundation, Kay Neill.
The $500 award is given annually to a Kansas science teacher to be used to increase professional development by attending a national or regional National Science Teachers Association Conference on Science Education. Mrs. Leis completed an application essay to vie for the award, and has chosen to attend the NSTA National Conference in Los Angeles on March 30-April 2, 2017.
The scholarship foundation was started by Carol Mohling in honor of her husband, Wendell G. Mohling, after his death ten years ago. Dr. Mohling was a former Kansas Association of Teachers of Science President and NSTA President, and was well known for his environmental education classes and outdoor lab that he designed as a teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School. Dr. Mohling’s vision was for Kansas science teachers to experience the excitement of attending a national or regional conference.The Foundation honors the memory of Wendell Mohling by awarding a $500 scholarship to one Kansas teacher of science annually. Their website, www.wendellmohlingfoundation.com, explains that Dr. Mohling knew from experience the personal and professional benefits gained by attending conventions. As a teacher, he also knew the financial burden of finding the money to attend conventions.
The award also provides Mrs. Leis with a membership for the year to the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS). This membership will provide her with numerous statewide opportunities for professional development.