RPSEC Volunteer Spotlight

Richard "Dick" Spaunburgh

In the spring of 1992, shortly after his retirement as a nuclear chemist, Dick Spaunburgh dropped by the newly constructed Ruth Patrick Science Education Center to volunteer his services in our effort to promote science. He also informed us that there were other resources in our community that we might be able to access through the American Nuclear Society, of which he is a member. He shared with us his desire to see children enjoy science, particularly chemistry, as he had throughout his career. This was the beginning of a long and rewarding relationship between the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center and our valuable volunteer in this monthÕs RPSEC Volunteer Spotlight, Dick Spaunburgh.
Because of Mr. Spaunburgh's serious interest in the young people of the CSRA, three very successful programs immediately developed: RPSEC Workstudy Scholarship, Outstanding Teacher in Science and Mathematics Award, and Teaching Radiation, Energy, And Technology Workshop (TREAT). Working with the CSRA Section of the American Nuclear Society, Dick helped develop a scholarship program that has sponsored an undergraduate to assist with the hands-on student programs at the Center for the past three years. Two of the three students they supported have since been hired to teach science to K-12 students. The third person is pursuing a career in nursing. Instructional opportunities made possible for these three students through DickÕs initial efforts, directly impacted the Science CenterÕs goal of increasing the number of well-prepared science teachers in the classroom.
Not only has Mr. Spaunburgh encouraged active involvement of his own professional organization, but has also devoted countless hours of his own time helping the Center provide services for teachers and students. He is part of the planning and implementation team that developed a week-long workshop for teachers on Teaching Radiation, Energy, And Technology (TREAT). Offered for four years now, TREAT provides teachers with balanced and up-to-date information, materials, and hands-on activities to teach those topics.
In November of 1994, the RPSEC and the CSRA chapter of the American Chemical Society unveiled the "Living Periodic Table." The structure in the main lobby of the RPSEC is 25 feet wide, 8 feet high, and 2 feet deep. Each element is represented by a drawer into which samples of the element and literature describing the element can be stored. Mr. Spaunburgh was the chairman of the committee responsible for the production of the table. Without Dick's energy and leadership there would never have been a Living Periodic Table. Dick is still working on the table by gathering representative samples of the elements to put into the drawers.
In addition to the above activities, Mr. Spaunburgh has assisted in nontechnical capacities as well. For the past three years, the RPSEC has sponsored two computer technology projects where the teachers brought their students to the Macintosh Classroom at the RPSEC. Dick acted as a van driver who transported the school children during these projects.
Thank you, Dick, for all of your help!

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URL: http://rpsec.usca.sc.edu/Newsletter/Dec95/spaunburg.html (August 1997)