RMCAVS Annual Symposium

Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Vacuum Society generally holds a free one-day symposium and vendor exhibit in the fall, with multi-day and one day vacuum related short courses held at the same time and location. We have also hosted larger workshops like the AVS surface analysis workshop and will likely do so again in the future. Find more information on our upcoming symposium on the homepage.

American Vacuum Society (AVS) Science Educators Workshop

The national AVS has conducted a two-day in-service workshop on low-pressure experiments and modeling for middle and high school science teachers from the United States and Canada since 1990. Attendees are sponsored by regional Chapters of the Society with all expenses paid by the sponsoring Chapter. The workshop is accredited for Continuing Education Units by the University of Dayton and is aligned with the national science and mathematics standards.

High school science teachers are encouraged to apply before September 30, 2024

The AVS (American Vacuum Society) is offering a two day, free, STEM workshop with high school ready lessons that integrate science, math and engineering using hands-on vacuum technology based activities.  This year’s Science Educators’ Workshop will be November 3-5, 2024 in Tampa, Florida. The Rocky Mountain AVS chapter will pay travel and lodging costs to send a teacher from our region to this hands-on workshop.  Teachers receive continuing education credit and their school may be eligible to receive an equipment grant including a new vacuum pump and vacuum jar. The workshop includes an onsite visit to a major industrial or research laboratory.  High school science teachers are encouraged to apply by September 30, 2024 for sponsorship to attend this workshop at https://avs.org/education/science-educators-workshop/ .

Congratulations to the 2023 RMC Sponsored Teacher:

CeXochitl DeLaTorre, a teacher at Alameda International school in JeffCo Public Schools, was sponsored by the Rocky Mountain AVS chapter to attend the AVS Science Educators’ Workshop held at the 2023 International Symposium in Portland, Oregon. CeXochitl is the STEM Coordinator at Alameda International. She plans to incorporate vacuum lessons into an 8th grade ecology unit and into the 12th grade Environmental Science class.  She is excited to be able to demonstrate vacuum concepts in addition to the current lectures.



AVS has conducted a two-day in-service workshop on low-pressure experiments and modeling for high school science teachers from the United States and Canada since 1990. Attendees are sponsored by regional Chapters of the Society with all expenses paid by the sponsoring Chapter. The workshop is accredited for CEU’s and is aligned with thenational science and mathematics standards.

The workshop is divided into two parts: (1) lectures on the underlying science and the mathematical calculations and (2) hands-on experience in which a group of teachers perform experiments and develop models under the guidance of an instructor team.

View pictures from a previously held workshops:

Upon completion of the workshop, teachers receive at no cost:

  • A certificate of completion
  • 1.5 Nationally certified CEU‘s or 150 sixty-minute clock hours from the University of Dayton
  • A vacuum system for their school identical to ones used in the workshop

To receive a vacuum system, a school must sign a liability release. Information about the equipment grant and release form can be obtained by e-mail at SEW@AVS.ORG.

Colorado Science & Engineering Fair

For many years, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AVS has sponsored special awards at the Colorado State Science & Engineering Fair. Our prizes are $100 for first place and $50 for second place, in both Senior and Junior Divisions, for projects mainly in physical sciences and engineering. We award these prizes to each student and a matching amount to each winner’s teacher/sponsor. We hope these awards encourage students to pursue their interests in science & engineering. Year after year, the level of these students’ scientific understanding, their hard work, and above all, their curiosity and enthusiasm, are truly inspiring.

The national AVS has conducted a two-day in-service workshop aligned with the national science and mathematics standards.

We Offer Awards and Scholarships

Our AVS chapter is one of about 70 organizations that offer over 300 individual special awards and scholarships worth more than $170,000.

When the CSEF was held in 2019, there were:

  • 329 projects submitted by 392 students (some projects were by teams of 2 or 3 students).
  • 168 seniors (grades 9-12) and 224 juniors (grades 6-8), from 115 Colorado schools
  • 183 projects were in physical sciences (our main focus); 146 in life sciences.
  • 198 teachers or other mentors sponsored/supported the students with their projects.

More About CSEF

Find more information about the Colorado Science & Engineering Fair at www.csef.colostate.edu.

Learn more about becoming a CSEF Volunteer.

Colorado Association of Science Teachers (CAST) Teacher Awards

The American Vacuum Society also sponsors an annual $500 award for Excellence in Science Teaching in the state of Colorado. The award is presented each year at the Colorado Science Conference every November. You do not need to be a CAST member to receive the AVS award. To be eligible, you must be currently teaching science in a Colorado school.

Nominate Yourself or Another Teacher by the End of September

Find the application and more information at Colorado Association of Science Teachers (CAST).

We honored three local teachers at the 2022 science educators workshop

Janet Krompier

Janet Krompier | AVS Excellence in Science Teaching Award — Elementary

Janet began her teaching career in California in 1983.  She has taught in several states but found her home in Colorado in 2003.  Janet has been the Science and STEM educator at High Plains Elementary School since 2006, sharing science with preschoolers through 5th grade.  During her tenure at HPE, she was selected as the STEM Coordinator for Academy District 20 as a Teacher on Special Assignment.  At the conclusion of the 3 year granted position, she returned to her lab and has been happily teaching science ever since.  She is also a founding member of eleSTEMary, Pikes Peak Coalition for Elementary STEM Education in it’s 10th year now.  Janet’s passion for STEM education is fueled by one thing- “It’s all about the kids!”  She derives great pleasure from connecting with the community to bring outside experts into the lab.  Janet continues her own education and makes it a priority to be in the know on all things science and STEM. Janet promotes engineering and problem solving via her annual Hour of Code event as well as Fairy Tale Engineering during Engineer’s Week. 

Alicia Mauer

Alicia Mauer | AVS Excellence in Science Teaching Award — Secondary

In her 15th year of teaching science, Alicia Mauer works at Woodland Park High School. She has worked with diverse populations in suburban and rural areas of the front range region of Colorado teaching chemistry, biology, anatomy, and AP environmental science. She holds a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and is currently working on a Master’s in Biological Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. She hopes to teach concurrent college level science classes at Woodland Park High School in the near future. She is passionate about all her classes I teach, but especially environmental sciences and building a community of environmental stewardship through high school students.
Alicia has been involved as a leader for Envirothon, a competition-based environmental science team in which students train with field scientists and study to compete against other teams on environmental problems and proposed solutions nationwide. She believes in providing exemplary learning experiences and has taken students to Sand Dunes National Park, power plants, wastewater treatment facilities, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the Denver Aquatic Center to learn from professionals in the field. Alicia says, “My career goal is centered on building solutions-oriented environmental education in our community that will enrich the lives of students, their everyday choices, and perhaps expose them to being involved in careers that help make the world a better place for future generations to come.”

Birgit Landin

Birgit Landin | AVS Excellence in Science Teaching Award — Informal/College

Birgit Landin has been providing community water and energy education and outreach services for Colorado Springs Utilities since 2011.  She conducts presentations, workshops, community events, school programs and statewide education forums to engage citizens of all ages in water and energy efficiency and protection.  She and the direct potable reuse demonstration team were recently recognized nationally by WateReuse Association for Excellence in Education and Outreach.  Birgit holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of New Mexico and has worked in municipal, state government and private consulting on environmental cleanup, water supply and water quality issues for 20+ years. Prior to joining Utilities, Birgit served seven years as a City of Colorado Springs Park Interpreter at Garden of the Gods park.  She is an avid supporter of our natural resources serving as a Board Member of the Trails and Open Space Coalition and spends her free time hiking local trails with her husband, two adult children and dog.