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Interlake teacher to work at cutting-edge science this summer

Bryce Mercer, Interlake High School chemestry teacher, will conduct research at the University of Washington this summer. - Lindsay Larin/Bellevue Reporter
Bryce Mercer, Interlake High School chemestry teacher, will conduct research at the University of Washington this summer.
— image credit: Lindsay Larin/Bellevue Reporter

Interlake High School chemistry teacher Bryce Mercer will step out of the classroom and into the science lab this summer to conduct research at the University of Washington.

Mercer, who has taught at Interlake for the past five years, was recently awarded with a $15,000 grant in the Partners in Science Program of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The grant was awarded through a competitive process with the primary goal of providing high school science teachers with opportunities to work at the cutting edge of science.

Over the course of two summers, Mercer will research alongside Dr. D. Michael Heinekey and will attend a National Conference on Partners in Science in San Diego, California.

Together, Mercer and Dr. Heinekey will conduct research titled the "High Chemical Values from Glycerol by Hydrogenolysis."

"I am excited to step into the lab setting and have the opportunity to conduct research alongside other professionals," Mercer explained. "Having real lab experience will make me a better teacher and will allow me to bring what I learn back to the classroom and to my students."

In January of 2010, Mercer will be expected to present a poster on his research followed by a paper documenting his discoveries at a conference in 2011. Travel funds for Mercer will be included in the grant.

After he has completed the two year program he will be eligible to apply for funds to implement ideas in the classroom that resulted from his research experience. If he is successful, the Trust will provide $3,000 outright for two additional years to the annual Partners in Science January Conference and up to an additional $4,000 if matched by the school or Bellevue School District. For every $1 raised by the school district, the Trust will match it with $2, adding up to a total of $4,000 of Trust dollars.

"I truly believe having this experience outside of the classroom will make me a better teacher," Mercer said. "I'm looking forward to this summer."

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

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