Islip’s Science Achievements Honored by STANYS


The Science Teachers Association of New York State recently honored Islip High School with three awards recognizing success in the sciences, showcasing the school’s continued efforts in promoting excellence in science education for their students and faculty.

AP biology teacher Wayne Mennecke received the Suffolk Section High School Science Teacher of the Year award, one of only three teachers in Suffolk to be honored with this recognition. Mennecke also serves as the school’s Keep Islip Clean adviser and was the creator and coordinator of Islip’s annual Pond Day.

“Islip offers so many opportunities for students and teachers to achieve success together,” said Mennecke. “What a pleasure it has been, working with many wonderful students, faculty members and staff at the high school for the past 19 years.”

“Wayne inspires many high school students each year to become involved in the environment through his work with the KIC club,” said Matt Christiansen, the high school’s science/business chairperson and the STANYS Suffolk Section’s current director and webmaster. “Students in his AP biology and biochemistry/physiology class are inspired to learn in-depth about the world around them. His teaching style is mesmerizing – you never want to leave his room once you enter.”

Recent graduate Trevor Uher was also honored with an Outstanding Senior Science Student award. An Eagle Scout, Quiz Bowl competitor and member of Islip’s National Honor Society, Uher finished in the top five percent of his Class of 2015. He participated on the school’s Science Olympiad team for four years, earning numerous medals at various competitions and serving as co-captain in his senior year. Uher is attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York this fall, studying aerospace engineering.

“Trevor is a once-in-a-lifetime student who truly enjoys learning science,” said Christiansen. “He constantly pushes himself to the next level to make sure that he truly gets the concept and to learn beyond what is being taught in the lesson. He is a tremendous leader, both inside and outside the classroom.”

Christiansen himself was also honored with a service award by STANYS, for his exemplary work in revamping the Suffolk Section website.

Christiansen, Mennecke and Uher were all honored at the Suffolk Section’s 40th annual awards dinner, held on May 20 at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook, receiving received engraved plaques to commemorate their achievements.

“It was a great night of awards where truly outstanding students and teachers were recognized for four years of hard work,” said Brian Vorwald, co-chairperson of the event. “Suffolk County and all of Long Island have made tremendous strides in science.”