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2017-18 Milken Educators

Photo 26 of 44 New Jersey Maria DeBruin

MARIA DeBRUIN (NJ '17)

When Maria DeBruin left the large pharmaceutical company where she'd worked for five years as a chemist to teach high school chemistry, she set out to inspire a new generation of future scientists at New Jersey's Brick Township Memorial High School. And she's succeeding. Enrollment in her AP Chemistry classes has skyrocketed, 87% of her students have passed the AP exam, and many former students credit Maria with their decisions to pursue careers in science.

If the crush of excited students around Maria at her surprise Milken Educator Award notification on November 2, 2017, is any indication, the chemistry teacher has an enthusiastic and well-deserved fan club. The sentiment goes both ways: "It was not an easy decision to leave a prestigious career as a chemist at Merck, but today is another validation that I made the right decision," said Maria after the assembly.

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Alaska Valerie Baalerud
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