2017-18 Milken Educators

Photo 26 of 44 New Jersey Maria DeBruin


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.


All photos should be credited to "Milken Family Foundation" unless otherwise noted.

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Alaska Valerie Baalerud
Alabama Vinny Chiaramonte
Arkansas Dawn McLain
Arizona Jonathan Cadena
California Aaron Ferguson
California Alexis King
Colorado Lisa Rodgers
Connecticut Anna Capobianco
Delaware Tami Lunsford
Florida Dale Adamson
Hawaii Ken Kang
Iowa Joni Readout
Indiana Kristen Lents
Kansas Heidi Albin
Kentucky Brooke Powers
Louisiana Angela Boxie
Louisiana Theresa Cross
Massachusetts Dan Adler
Maryland Allison Felton
Michigan Neal Cronkite
Missouri Jordan McGaughey
MS Robyn Killebrew
North Carolina Meghan LeFevers
North Dakota Adam Gehlhar
Nebraska Jon Pickinpaugh
New Jersey Maria DeBruin
New Jersey Toni Ann Palmisano
New Mexico Melanie Alfaro
New York Aja Brown
New York Andrew Franz
Ohio Maria Rodgers
Oklahoma Debreon Davis
Oregon Andria Lindsey
Pennsylvania Melanie Cole
Rhode Island Lauren Hopkins
South Carolina Erin Reichert
South Dakota Carla Diede
Tennessee Paula Franklin
Tennessee Katherine Watkins
Texas Jennifer Fuller
Texas Katie Negen
Virginia Ryan James
West Virginia Erika Klose
Wyoming Shannon Hill