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Upper School Science Teacher

Shannon Hurst

Years at Gems



Middle School Faculty, Upper School Faculty


Dr. Shannon J. Hurst, Upper School science teacher, arrived at GEMS after spending more than 20 years in science education, teaching grades 6 through 10 at urban and suburban schools throughout the Midwest. She is the recipient of numerous STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) awards and has led her students to multiple science competitions and energy-related exhibits. Also, she has published chapters on teaching science to second-language learners. She is committed to writing curriculum that is inquiry-based, combining pedagogy and praxis in science. She recently worked in Chicago Public Schools implementing research that works on social justice and marginalized populations. She has attended conferences across the country and has spoken on subcultural research and youth activism within science education.
Shannon received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a concentration in nursing. She received a master’s degree in education from Dominican University, and she earned her doctorate from Lewis University in 2012 with a concentration in educational research/leadership.
Shannon’s teaching philosophy in science fosters the tenets of creating a testable hypothesis through personal inquiry and identifying those variables that can complete design and experimental research. She believes the International Baccalaureate curriculum helps create a blend of problem solving through transdisciplinary components that allows new knowledge to be gained. Shannon believes science often forgets to leave room for having “fun through trial and error,” and she focuses on preparing students for 21st-century science jobs that have not yet been determined or created. She encourages students to think of themselves as participants in a global science-minded community of learners.

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