I have taught science (chemistry at 3 levels, physics, physical science) at the Middle School, High School and College levels for over 25 years. I also taught Chemistry (adjunct) and Chemical Engineering (full time, Assistant Professor) in college for 10 of these years. I have been my school's Moderator for the Science Olympiad competition for many years at several schools I taught at, and really enjoy coordinating this with and for my students. I have also directed science fairs at 3 of the schools I have taught at. I have run summer camps for students in the areas of Robotics & Rocketry, Creek Monitoring, Chemistry and Physics. Lastly, I worked for 4 years as a Chemical Engineer at Union Carbide and Kraft General Foods early on in my career.
I am a very hands-on teacher. I fully realize and know that students will remember and learn best if they see a visual object or device that reflects the physical phenomenon they are learning. For example, students will learn about a simple machine such as a lever or block and tackle, or hydraulics if you show them a device that illustrates the phenomenon. So, I bring in my floor jack from home when I'm teaching these topics. And, I set up a block and tackle arrangement for kids to 'feel' the mechanical advantage of it. I use the very cool 'Block and Tackle' device that Flinn Scientific sells, which shows just how strong one student can be as he/she overpowers 2 or 3 other students. If we're learning about types of chemical reactions in chemistry/physical science, I will demonstrate multiple different reactions such as that between Na(s) in water or the single replacement reaction between zinc and HCl(aq) in the 'magic penny floating trick'. And when teaching biology, I'm sure that we dissect several specimens which helps students to better learn about organ systems, and I will have seeds growing at the window of the classroom to illustrate seed germination and function. I could go on and discuss other creative, innovative, yet relatively simple, hands-on devices I have used over many years of teaching.
I am a member of the National Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi. I have also been involved with many science programs to help further my students' educational opportunities. Since 2000, these have included (but are not limited to): 1. Attended the Annual two-day JSHS at Georgetown University with 7 or up to 15 of my students in January 2007 thru 2013, At the 2007 JSHS, one of my students, Jon Malycke, was selected to present his research involving model rockets and nose-cone fabrication. And another of my students Bridget Donahue was selected to present her research at the 2013 JSHS on the effect of color on middle school students' learning. 2. I attended the Astronomy Workshop: From the Solar System to the Stars, an Inquiry-based Tour of the Local Universe, University Park, Penn State University, July 16-21, 2006. Teachers were “empowered” with a wealth of information to bring back to their Earth Science, Physics, and/or Astronomy classrooms. 3. I attended the summer 2004 SMART Mechatronics program at Polytechnic University, 4 weeks, with follow-up assessment activities and meetings throughout 2004 school year. Eleven High School science teachers from the New York Metro area participated and were introduced to mechatronics & built a SMART device to be used in the classroom. As a follow-up dissemination of the program, I presented results at the Inspire Conference, Univ.S.Mississippi, Oct.2004. 4. I was the coordinator for the Polymers at Engineered Interfaces, Research Scholar Program, Summers of 1999-2003 at the Garcia Center for Polymers Science & Research, Stony Brook University. These 4 are a sampling of extra activities (beyond teaching) I have been involved with during the past 14 years of my teaching career. Dr.Ronald N. Occhiogrosso, 'Dr.O.' as my students call me.
I have a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from: Manhattan College, the University of Notre Dame, and Johns Hopkins University, respectively. But my education has never really stopped!! I learn stuff every day from my students, my family, & in life!
I have been married for 31 years (and counting) and am the proud Father of 6, and 4 grandchildren, with two more grandchildren on the way (due dates in January and May). My wife, Frances, and I live with four of our children in Lenexa, Kansas. I teach science to 7th and 8th graders at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Lenexa, where I also moderate our Science Olympiad team, and I also co-moderator the Science Olympiad team at St.James Academy in Lenexa. And several of my students will be entering the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair in March.