Liz Ross ’11 wins prestigious award after first year of teaching

To have been recognized with the Abbott Sigma Xi 2012 Elementary School Outstanding Science/Mathematics Teacher Award would be an achievement and an honor for any science or math teacher, but it is especially true for someone in the very early stages of a teaching career.

Lake Forest College alumna Elizabeth Ross was presented with the award at a banquet in May. Ross graduated in 2011 as an education and biology double major, and during the spring of her senior year, she began preparing for her fall teaching assignment at Lake Forest Country Day School (LFCDS).

Ross shadowed a retiring science teacher, attended field trips with students, and participated in science-curriculum review meetings at the school. By the summer, she was organizing and investigating materials and curricula and had created an inviting learning space for creative and engaging activities.

“My experience at Lake Forest Country Day has been an exceptional one,” said Ross.  “While my colleagues have been supportive and wonderful mentors, it is the students who made this first year so memorable. They have such an incredible enthusiasm for learning, inquisitiveness about our world, and a love for life. My students truly inspire me and make teaching a joy.”

“Liz’s understanding and passion for science and its importance is clear and she is fostering that same enthusiasm in her students,” said Sally Bullard, head of Lower School at LFCDS.

It was one of these students who nominated Ross for the award. Third-grader Cameron Wacker wrote a letter to Abbott stating what she loved about her science teacher. “Ms. Ross is always very creative in class and helps me work hard,” wrote Cameron.  “She encourages me to do my best on projects and special activities. She really helps me understand things and the importance of science.” 

Ross also credits her mentors at Lake Forest with helping her reach such success early in her career.

“My professors at Lake Forest College provided me with the tools and resources needed to learn and grow at LFCDS; it would not have been the same experience without the level of preparation I received,” added Liz.  “My professors’ passion for learning and teaching were contagious, and I hope I will one day be as inspirational to my students asthey were, and continue to be, for me.”