New Mexico, Middle school science
Paulo Oemig has taught eighth grade physical science in the Las Cruces Public Schools District (LCPS) at Zia Middle School in Las Cruces, New Mexico for the past seven years. He has also taught an integrated elective class introducing students to engineering design. Oemig has been the advisor and coach to after school programs such as Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement; Science Olympiad; New Mexico Best Robotics; Project GUTS (Growing Up Thinking Scientifically); and Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Achievement. All these programs share the objective aimed at exposing students to enriched curricula, field trips, speakers, academic competitions, scientific design, problem solving and systems modeling. For the last two years, Oemig has participated in the GK-12 DISSECT (DIScover SciEnce through Computational Thinking) project mentoring science graduate students to collaboratively develop educational modules and increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields in middle grade students.
Prior to moving to United States, Oemig earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in Argentina at the National School of Technical Education No. 1 where he was also an organic chemistry teaching assistant. His research thesis involved optimization processes in the production of lactic cultures. At the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Anthropology. Looking to bridge physical and cultural anthropology, Oemig attended New Mexico State University (NMSU) where he completed his Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. At NMSU, Oemig worked as a research assistant for The Center for Minority Land and Community Security where he focused on the critical issue of disproportionate land loss by Hispanics and their community-based organizations tied to farm-based economies. Oemig is currently pursuing his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University.
In 2012 Oemig presented on NASA’s Kepler Mission at the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History. He led the workshops “Dissecting Light” at the South West New Mexico Science Teachers Association Regional Conference in 2011 and “Combustion byproducts: Fossil vs. Bio” at the New Mexico Science Teacher Association Conference in 2010. In 2009, Oemig was awarded a $10,000 BP A+ for Energy grant which enabled his school to acquire educational materials and funded energy related field trips for his students. He was also recognized outstanding teacher in the LCPS district by the Kappa Kappa Iota Alpha Epsilon teacher association of the Las Cruces chapter in 2009. Oemig was awarded both the LCPS Teacher of the Year and the New Mexico Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012.
Paulo believes that best teaching practices must be inclusive and differentiated instruction should be used to validate every student’s background. “Students must be given the tools and opportunities to actively participate in education and achieve critical thinking. Teaching should be student centered, strive toward equity, and promote individual dignity and cultural understanding. Education is a complex process, which entails taking risks for both the educator and the student.”
Paulo spends his free time playing soccer with his sons, coaching little league, camping and taking classes.
Paulo is serving his Fellowship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Headquarters, Informal STEM Education Program and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Office of Education.