From Rhode Island College
Published October 9, 2014
The National Association of Biology Teachers named David Upegui, Central Falls High School teacher, the 2014 recipient of the Evolution Education Award. This award recognizes “innovative classroom teaching and community education” in biological evolution.
Upegui, who is also RIC alumnus and adjunct professor of biology at Rhode Island College, has been teaching science at Central Falls High School since 2010. There he initiated a major revision of the high school’s life sciences curriculum so that evolution is now the first course in the course sequence.
Upegui has also been active in educating the wider community in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) topics. His work includes the JASON Learning Project, a middle school science program designed to motivate and inspire students to pursue interests and careers in STEM; and the SeaPerch Program, funded by the Office of Naval Research, which equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build remotely operated underwater vehicles and to deploy them on research missions in nearby bodies of water.
Upegui also collaborates with Amgen pharmaceuticals and the Norman Bird Sanctuary, coaches The Science Olympiad Team and is Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences Teacher Leader.
In an interview with RIC news, Upegui credited RIC professors for mentoring him. He said, “They were much more than teachers. They were pivotal in my life, in making me who I am. When I teach, they are teaching through me.”
Upegui earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at RIC, being awarded a B.A. in biology in 1997 and an M.A. in biology and psychology in 2003. In 2006 he earned his secondary education teaching certificate in general science at RIC.