Fulton County Educator Recognized for Dedication in Engineering Ed

Margaret Tarver Receives 2010 Golden Torch Award

Tri-Cities High School, a magnet school for visual and performing arts, may seem like an unlikely location to establish a junior chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), but chemistry teacher and graduation coach Margaret Tarver hasn’t allowed such minor details to stand in her way.

Margaret Tarver, Tri-Cities High School, Lab Shot
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Through the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Student and Teacher Enhancement Partnership (STEP), funded by the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 program, graduate students from the Georgia Tech have successfully worked with the Fulton County high school on science and engineering outreach projects, thanks to the guidance of Tarver, who has served as the faculty sponsor for the NSBE Junior chapter. As a result of her leadership, Tarver has been named the NSBE’s Pre-College Initiative Director of the Year, one of the organization’s esteemed Golden Torch Awards. She will travel to the 13th Annual Golden Torch Awards ceremony in Toronto, Canada, in April to officially receive the award.

“During our first six months of partnering with Tri-Cities through the STEP program, Margaret quickly realized the value of having Georgia Tech as a friend,” said Marion Usselman, Associate Director for Academic Outreach at Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). “Tri-Cities may be a performing arts magnet school, but Margaret quickly understood that students with a creative flair who excel in performing arts are prime candidates for the NSBE Jr. chapter because of their passion for engagement in life and learning. With this in mind, she has introduced the students to science, math and engineering through skits and other creative activities.”

Usselman also noted that Tarver has served as a mentor to both Tri-Cities students as well as to Georgia Tech graduate students who have coordinated partnership efforts.

“Mrs. Tarver embodies a passion for not only teaching but also mentoring, which is easily observable,” said former STEP Fellow Dr. Jacqueline Fairley. “She creates connections with STEP graduate fellows that extend beyond the classroom into life-long mentorship roles. This is shown by the many graduate fellows who return to Tri-Cities to follow up with Mrs. Tarver and volunteer with the NSBE Jr. program beyond their STEP fellowship obligations.”

Georgia Tech’s STEP program has had an impressive track record since its inception in 2001, but Usselman is quick to acknowledge that teachers like Tarver are critical to the initiative’s success.

“Margaret has inspired her students to take active responsibility for the NSBE Jr. chapter, to participate in regional and national conferences and competitions, and to use their own knowledge of science and engineering to promote engagement in learning among younger students,” said Usselman. “In the process, she has positively impacted huge numbers of people, from her Tri-Cities students, to Georgia Tech graduate and undergraduate students, to the neighborhood elementary school students and to staff and faculty at Georgia Tech.”

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.