Science teacher Imogen Herrick wins ExCel Award at Academy @ Shawnee


by Gary Roedemeier

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 15 at 7:20 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The teacher who made chemistry cool at the Academy @ Shawnee was honored on Tuesday, April 15, as a WHAS-TV ExCel Award winner. Imogen Herrick taught chemistry for five years at Shawnee before moving to biology this year.

Herrick is perhaps best known for the Cool Chemistry show; her students go to elementary and middle schools to spread the good word about science. Those students who attended the ExCel ceremony are like the Herrick fan club.

A colleague, Col. William Vandermeer, calls Herrick a rare teacher that not only knows the material, but can excite students about it.

"She explains in such a way that anybody can understand it. Then they are able to take that, and take that next step and apply it to real world situations.

In the real world, Herrick and her students have sent an experiment to the International Space Station and will soon package another experiment for NASA that will be launched on June 6. During her tenure at Shawnee, students have gained an average of four points on the science ACT test.
Herrick is also known as a mentor of student teachers. Her class has become a laboratory for graduate students in chemistry and engineering, who want to be teachers.

As one student says of the newest ExCel teacher, "She really cares. Even when she's yelling at you, she's smiling."

About her transition from chemistry to biology this year, Herrick says she will always love chemistry but she likes the fact that biology is so applicable to the student's lives.

Herrick is a Louisville native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from the University of Kentucky and a Masters degree in Teaching from Spalding University.

She believes that teaching is the perfect combination of rigor and magic. Herrick works her magic at the Academy @ Shawnee.