La Salle Academy science teacher Ann Kaiser, B.S., M.I.A.

La Salle Academy science teacher Ann Kaiser, B.S., M.I.A.

Robert Geraci, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies at Manhattan College.

Robert Geraci, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies at Manhattan College.

5/7/12 – Providence, RI / Riverdale, NY La Salle Academy science teacher Ann Kaiser, B.S., M.I.A, has been accepted for the 2012-2013 Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program in Singapore.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for a Fulbright Award. I am particularly pleased to be accepted for the Singapore program where my focus will be developing a more active, engineering approach to science education,” said Kaiser. ”I am convinced that exposing students to more design and application driven activities will attract creative and innovative thinkers to engineering. Engineering offers our students an amazing number of ways to have a positive impact on the world on many levels. It should be part of our curriculum here at La Salle and our initial endeavors have been very well accepted. I hope to be able to expand on that and I am excited to learn firsthand how a country on the forefront of technological innovation encourages young people to pursue technical careers.”

Kaiser, who has been teaching at La Salle since 1999, teaches Advance Placement (AP) Physics B, AP Physics C and introductory Engineering. In addition, she developed and implemented curriculum for AP Physics B and C, modeled on college level physics courses.

She is currently developing and teaching curriculum for an introductory Engineering course emphasizing project based application of design principles and processes. Her previous experience includes teaching introductory Physics, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.

“Ann Kaiser is the perfect candidate for the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program. Her participation in investigating and incorporating Engineering into the curriculum at the newly developed School of Science and Technology for 12 – 18 year old students using creativity, collaboration and international problem solving to move beyond mastery of the basics will be a tremendous opportunity to commit to developing versatile, well-rounded, creative engineers for the future,” said La Salle Principal Don Kavanagh. “Her proposal to move to a more active, modeling based approach in both Physics and Engineering based on her research in Singapore would be a major step forward in curriculum at La Salle Academy and especially in learning for our students.”

“It is truly an extraordinary honor for an extraordinary teacher. Ann Kaiser is a very special presence in the classroom who always goes above and beyond in challenging her students to grasp and ultimately excel in subjects that do not necessarily come easily or naturally to many,” said La Salle academy President Brother Michael Mc Kenery. “And, although she will be missed during her during her semester in Singapore, we are very proud that she has been recognized as one of the nation’s finest and most innovative science teachers.”

A graduate of Columbia University for both her bachelor’s degree in metallurgy and her master’s degree in international affairs, prior to joining La Salle Kaiser was a research assistant at Brown University in the Department of Material Science, a consulting engineer at Thielsch Engineering Associates in Rhode Island, a manager of new product engineering and a product specialist at Precision Metallurgical in Massachusetts, a metallurgical sales engineer at Pfizer’s Specialty metals Division in Connecticut and a metallurgical engineer at Airco Industrial Gases in New Jersey.

Robert Geraci, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies at Manhattan College and a resident of Nyack, N.Y., was recently awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar grant to research the social study of artificial intelligence and robotics at the Indian Institute of Science in Banglore, India. His research will begin in December 2012 and end in April 2013.

In his 2010 book Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality, Geraci analyzed how the western religious apocalyptic traditions have affected the way certain people think about robotics and artificial intelligence. Using this same concept of how technology and meaning are intertwined, he will interview roboticists, computer scientists and researchers in India to gain further insight and identify if there is in fact a religious connection.

“I am going to go and talk to people and try to understand why they build what they build, what kinds of things are they building and what problems are they hoping to solve using the computer sciences,” Geraci said. “I also want to contextualize that within their religious life if such a connection exists.”

Geraci is also preparing to publish his latest book on the association between video games and transhumanism. For example, some games actually debate transhumanism as a user plays, and this concept has lead to research conducted by three of Geraci’s students, which is funded through a National Science Foundation grant. He is the author of a variety of essays published in the Routledge Companion to Religion and Science, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, The Journal of the American Academy of Religion and Theology and Science.

He is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-2013. The U.S. government sponsors the Fulbright Program, which is its flagship international educational exchange program. In addition, the program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

First established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program is also supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Since the Fulbright program started more than 60 years ago, nearly 310,000 people have participated — approximately 116,900 from the United States and 192,800 from other countries.