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StarTeachers 2005 Biographies

En Español - Versión adaptada en Chile

Embargoed until 9:30 am (HST)/4:30 pm (Chile) Thursday December 9th.

Dalma Karina Valenzuela Azola

“This exchange program is a real honor for me personally. I see this as a continuation of my life-long effort to learn and teach about the inspiring ‘Universe’ of which we are all part of.”

Dalma is a teacher in Technical Education specializing in the areas of technology and culinary arts. Born and raised in the Elqui Valley, since she was very young she felt deeply attracted to the beautiful skies visible in this valley. In order to become closer to the study of the skies, she created an after school astronomy club at Concentración Fronteriza “Ríos de Elqui” School in Rivadavia, located 78 kilometers east of La Serena.

"Because I attended elementary school here I owe a great part of my upbringing and professional development to this school,” Dalma says. This is one of the many reasons that she feels so motivated to promote the science of astronomy with her students. Her participation in the StarTeachers program is another way for her to broaden her experiences and the knowledge she has available to share.

Dalma believes that every learning experience and cultural exchange that she acquires will directly benefit her students on a daily basis. Here approach that you “learn while you do” supports the Chilean Educational Reform program now being implemented.

Carlos Videla Bonilla

“Being part of the StarTeachers program will allow me to broaden my knowledge. I look forward to sharing my experiences and experiencing the culture of my colleagues and students in Hawaii. Equally important, I will multiply this unique experience for me with my students and colleagues in my region of Chile.

“As a teacher I try to promote values and realize the full potential of each students competencies in order to make their learning process a meaningful experience. It’s my goal to always maintain an open and fluent dialogue with my students.”

Carlos teaches at the Liceo Diego Portales in Conquimbo, a public and municipal school with a total of 1,900 students. His experience is primarily as a classroom teacher and a coordinator of after-school clubs and workshops. He also serves as the head of the Math Department, Director of the “Southern Cross” EXPLORA Astronomy Club and Evaluator.

As a coordinator of after-school activities, he has encouraged students to join the existing activities but also has created new ones that include: Drill Team, Spanish Tunas groups, Female and Male Soccer. As Head of the Math Department Carlos has prioritized the preparation of tests such the SIMCE and PSU (similar to the SAT’s in the US) to motivate students and make his colleagues more prepared to face these challenges.

Carlos has served as Director of the Astronomy Club and has been a liaison with professional astronomer Dr. Amelia Ramirez from the University of La Serena. This has led to his regular involvement in the organization of various astronomy activities directed toward the students of both Coquimbo and La Serena.

David Orellana Astorga

“To become an StarTeacher is a very rewarding experience. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to bring my input into this program and I look forward to meet the teachers and students in Hawaii. This is clearly a great satisfaction to all of my students, and on a personal aspect this is one of the stories I will cherish with my grandchildren many times”.

David is a History and Geography teacher who graduated from the Universidad de La Serena in 1999. He is currently an archeoastronomy professor in the Physics Department of the same University and is studying to obtain his PhD in Science and technology Education from the Universidad de Mendoza in Argentina.

Among his many responsibilities within the community in the IV region of Chile, he is the Director of RedLaser, - a network of students and school teachers that like, teach and learn about astronomy – StarLab operator, Coordinator of Project Astro Chile and recently appointed as Director of CADIAS (a center that provides didactic support to the teachers and students of astronomy).


Sonya Carvalho

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While being a wife and mother of four children Sonya Carvalho obtained a Bachelors Degree in Natural Science with a Minor in Biology and a Secondary Teaching Certificate at our own University of Hawaii at Hilo. As a licensed teacher with the state of Hawaii, she has been an educator for seven years teaching various science curricula at the High School and Intermediate levels. Sonya is currently the middle school science teacher of Connections Public Charter School, which was the first school to receive its charter in the State of Hawaii. Connections Public Charter School, in partnership with the Curriculum Research and Develop Group of the University of Hawaii at Manoa utilizes the FAST and DASH Science Programs, which are based on Constructivist Principles of Inquiry Based and Hands on Learning.

Sonya has been active in the science community participating in NOMISS (New Opportunities for Minorities in Space Science), serving as a member of the District Science Fair Committee, and represents her school as a “master teacher” for the Journey Through the Universe Program, which is sponsored in part by Gemini Observatory. She and her students promote science and education by participating in educational research implemented by the Curriculum Research and Development Group in conjunction with Stanford University. Her students have won Science Fair Awards at the District and State levels and Sonya was awarded “Best Junior Science Teacher” at the 46th State Science and Engineering Fair.

Tom Chun

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A teacher of physics for 35 years, Tom Chun has taught and coached in Hawaii's Department of Education at Radford High School for 23 years. Subsequently, he has taught physics and astronomy at the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus and now teaches at Kamehameha's Keaau Campus on the Big Island of Hawaii.

He attended the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii, where he obtained a Masters of Education in Educational Technology. He has been active in the Physics and Astronomy teaching community - carrying different leadership roles in Hawaii's section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and participating in the TOPS (Towards Outer Planetary Systems) and NOMISS (New Opportunities for Minorities In Space Science) astronomy programs for teachers.

Tom brings much experience to the courses he teaches and the programs he works with. Sharing these experiences and applications from the real world outside the classroom, he makes the classes that he teaches interesting and relevant.

Roddy Floro

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Rod Floro is a science teacher at Kea`au High School, in the district of Puna, on the island of Hawai`i. In the past four years, he has taught everything from Marine Science to Physical Science to Plants and Animals. He is one of the founders of Holo I Ke Kai, the voyaging program at Kea`au High School that trains students to become crew members on the double-hulled voyaging canoe, the Makali`i.

His teaching licensure and his Bachelor’s of Arts in Natural Sciences are from the University of Hawai`i, at Hilo. He also obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

Rod’s educational background coupled with his travel experiences to Latin America, Asia, and throughout the Pacific has given him a strong foundation in facilitating meaningful learning experiences for his students.

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Dalma Karina Valenzuela Azola

“Este intercambio es para mí un honor a los esfuerzos desplegados , por aprender , enseñar y difundir este apasionante tema, “El Universo”, del cual formamos parte.”

Profesora En Educación Técnico Profesional , Especialista en las áreas de Tecnología y Gastronomía. Elquina de nacimiento y crianza , por lo que de pequeña siempre sentí una gran atracción hacia el hermoso cielo que cubre nuestro Valle . Apenas tuve la oportunidad de acercarme al tema de la astronomía lo hice a través de la creación de una academia astronómica en la Escuela de Concentración Fronteriza “ Ríos de Elqui” de Rivadavia, ubicada a 78 Km. de la ciudad de La Serena .

“A ésta Escuela debo parte de mi formación y desarrollo profesional,” Dalma enfatiza. Puesto que acá concluí la enseñanza básica. Es por ello, el gran entusiasmo que poseo por promover en mis alumnos/as y Comunidad Educativa en general, la cultura Científico Astronómica. La cual será potenciada gracias al intercambio Startechers que promueve y realiza Observatorio Gemini.

Pienso que todos los aprendizajes e intercambio cultural que adquiriré, convergerán directamente en mis educandos, mediante la articulación del quehacer educativo común con la astronomía, poniendo en práctica una vez más “ El aprender haciendo” que promueve la Reforma Educacional chilena.

Carlos Videla Bonilla

“La participación en este programa StarTeachers me permitirá ampliar mis conocimientos, relacionarme y compartir experiencias con mis colegas y alumnos de Hawai, conocer su cultura e igualmente importante , poder multiplicarla con mis alumnos y colegas en Chile siendo una experiencia única en lo personal y también para la Región.”

“Como profesor, intento inculcar valores, potenciar y reforzar competencias de los alumnos para que sus aprendizajes sean significativos, tener un dialogo abierto y fluido con mis alumnos.”

El Liceo DIEGO PORTALES de Coquimbo, que represento, es un establecimiento municipalizado con una matrícula de 1900 alumnos en tres jornadas. En este colegio me he desempeñado en distintas areas tales como professor de aula, çoordinador de Actividades Curriculares de Libre Elección (Talleres y Academias), Jefe de Departamento de Matemáticas , Director del Club Explora de Astronomía “Cruz del Sur” y Evaluador.

Como Coordinador de Academias, he potenciado las ya existentes y, a la vez, creado algunas nuevas: Banda de Guerra, Las Tunas, Academia de Fútbol femenina y masculina, entre otras. Como Jefe del Departamento, he priorizado la preparación de las pruebas SIMCE y PSU motivando el perfeccionamiento de los docentes.

Como Director del Club Explora de Astronomía, he gestionado el apoyo incondicional de la Académica de la Universidad de La Serena, Dra. Amelia Ramírez, lo cual me ha guiado en mi constante participación en la organización de varias actividades de astronomía dirigidas a los alumnos de Coquimbo y La Serena.

David Orellana Astorga

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“To become an StarTeacher is a very rewarding experience. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to bring my input into this program and I look forward to meet the teachers and students in Hawaii. This is clearly a great satisfaction to all of my students, and on a personal aspect this is one of the stories I will cherish with my grandchildren many times”.

David is a History and Geography teacher who graduated from the Universidad de La Serena in 1999. He is currently an archeoastronomy professor in the Physics Department of the same University and is studying to obtain his PhD in Science and technology Education from the Universidad de Mendoza in Argentina.

Among his many responsibilities within the community in the IV region of Chile, he is the Director of RedLaser, - a network of students and school teachers that like, teach and learn about astronomy – StarLab operator, Coordinator of Project Astro Chile and recently appointed as Director of CADIAS (a center that provides didactic support to the teachers and students of astronomy).


Sonya Carvalho

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Además de esposa y madre de 4 hijos, Sonya Carvalho es licenciada en Ciencias Naturales y biología. Ella también recibió su certificado de Enseñanza Secundaria de la Universidad de Hawai en Hilo. Como maestra licenciada por el estado de Hawai, ha sido educadora por espacio de 7 años enseñando varios tipos de ciencias de nivel secundario e intermedio. Actualmente, Sonya es la maestra intermedia en la Escuela Connections Public Charter. Esta fue la primera escuela en ser reconocida en el estado de Hawai por su especialidad. Connections Public Charter en conjunto con la Universidad de Hawai en Manoa han propuesto diferente métodos para enseñar a los alumnos llamado Fast and Dash.

Sonya ha sido activa en la comunidad de ciencia participando en un programa llamado NOMISS, ha servido como miembro del comité de ciencia del distrito, y también representa a su escuela como “Maestra Principal” por el programa Journey through the Universe, programa patrocinado en parte por el Observatorio Gemini. Ella y sus alumnos se comprometen en la ciencia y educación participando en instructivas investigaciones implementadas por el grupo Curriculum Research and Development en combinación con la Universidad de Stanford. Sus estudiantes han ganado premios en las exposiciones de ciencias a nivel del distrito y estado. Sonya también ha ganado como “mejor maestra juvenil de ciencia” en la Feria del Estado de Ciencias y Ingeniería.

Tom Chun

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Profesor de física de 35 años. Tom Chun ha enseñado y entrenado en el Departamento de Educación de l Colegio Secundario de Radford en Hawai.. Subsecuentemente, el ha enseñado físicay astronomía en los colegios Kamehameha, Campus Kapalama y en la actualidad trabaja en la Isla Grande de Hawaii en el Campus Keauu de Kamehameha.

El estudio en la Universidad de Washington y en la Universidadde Hawaii, donde obtuvo su grado de Masters en Educación en Educación Tecnológica. El ha trabajado activamente con la comunidad enseñando física y astronomía u2013 asumiendo diversos roles en la sección de Hawaii de la Asociación Norteamericana de Profesores de Física y ha participado en los programas de astronomía para educadores TOPS(Hacia Sistemas Planetarios Lejanos) y NOMISS (Nuevas Oportunidades para las Minorías en Ciencia Espacial)

Tom brindamucha experiencia a estos cursos a los cuales enseña y a los programas en los cuales trabaja. Compartir estas expericncias y aplicaciones desde el mundo real fuera de las aulas de clases, es como el logra que sus clases sean interesantes y muyr elevantes.

Roddy Floro

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Rod Floro es un profesor de Ciencias en el Colegio Secundario de Keau’u, en el distrito de Puna en la Isla de Hawai. Anteriormente él hizo clases desde Ciencias Marinas hasta Física, además de Plantas y Animales. El es uno de los fundadores de Holo I Ke Kai, el programa de navegación del Colegio Secundario de Keau’u que entrena a los estudiantes para llegar a ser miembros de la tripulación de la canoa Makali’i.

Su licenciatura en educación y sus estudios en Ciencias Naturales son de la Universidad de Hawai’i en Hilo, El también obtuvo un grado de Ciencias Medioambientales de la Universidad DePaul en Chicago.

Además de su curriculum educacional, Roddy ha viajado extensamente por Latino América, Asia y por toda la zona del Pacífico lo que le ha dado una sólida formación para entregar experiencias de aprendizajes significativas a sus alumnos.