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Christine Vernier

Company: Vernier Software & Technology, Portland, OR
Entry Submitted By: KEH Communications
Company Description: Vernier Software & Technology has been an innovator of data-collection technology for 26 years. Creating easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and software, their products can be found in education from elementary school to college. Vernier helps teachers enhance their science curriculum, increase learning, and build students’ critical thinking skills.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Lifetime Achievement Award

Nomination Title: Pioneering Change in Science Education

  • Describe for the judges the nominated individual's lifetime of accomplishments (up to 500 words):

    In 1980 using probes and sensors to collect scientific data was the work of 
    research laboratories. Christine and David Vernier set out to make data collection
    technology a routine part of the K-14 science classroom and to allow students to
    work with accurate data for scientific inquiry. Through Christine’s perseverance
    and her keen business sense, they founded Vernier Software & Technology and
    sparked an industry that is thriving.

    According to Jim Blattman, a physical science teacher in Nevada, "Kids have no
    idea how bad it was in ‘the good old days.’ We used to do labs with things like
    spark-gap timers, and other means of collecting data that were often unreliable,
    difficult, or expensive to keep working," Blattman remembers. "The Vernier tools
    make collecting data really easy and fun! I like to play with the probes and
    sensors, and the kids pick up on that and get very enthused. They truly get a
    sense of 'wow, we're doing something that's new and cool. We're exploring like
    real scientists.’"

    Christine has always talked to customers often. By doing this, she has an
    understanding for the challenges science educators face and how to address
    these challenges through new products. Today the company’s line of award-
    winning interfaces, sensors, software, and curriculum help engage and excite
    students through hands-on scientific exploration.

    What started as a two-person after-hours operation has grown into a successful
    business with annual revenues of $30 million and over 70 employees. The Vernier
    products are found in every state in the U.S. and in 122 countries. Nationally,
    the products are found in 60% of high schools and 40% of K-8 schools.

    Christine is passionate about giving to science education. Each year Vernier
    sponsors the National Science Teachers Association’s Vernier Technology Award
    and the National Association of Biology Teachers Environmental Award. The
    company donates refurbished Vernier equipment to schools in need, and since
    July 2006, has donated $394,510 worth of equipment to schools.

    Christine does this while focusing on a healthy, team-oriented workplace where
    respect for the environment is a priority. She spends some of her time
    volunteering on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Willamette Valley, the
    board of the Business Education Compact, and the Portland State University
    Science Industry Advisory Council. She provides incentives for employees who
    volunteer at non-profit organizations. Since July 2006, the company has paid out
    374 hours of volunteer time. The Vernier’s also spent a large sum to make the
    Vernier building a Gold Certified LEED building and they are in the process of
    sharing conservation data collected from the building on an educational web site.

    Because of Christine, the company has been one of Oregon Business Magazine’s
    100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon consecutively for 8 years. As well,
    Portland Monthly named Vernier Software & Technology the third best place to
    work in Portland in 2006.

    Her success has allowed her to personally donate $1 million toward advancing
    science at area universities, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and
    Planned Parenthood.

  • List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

    The following graph indicates how much student achievement improves when
    students use data collection technology in Science, an industry that David and
    Christine Vernier sparked when they started Vernier Software & Technology:

  • Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 100 words):

    Christine Vernier was born in Western Pennsylvania and attended Ohio State 
    University where she earned a B.S. in Social Science. She went on to become a
    social worker and a law office manager until, in 1986, she and her husband, David,
    co-founded Vernier Software & Technology. Christine currently serves as the
    CFO. Vernier Software & Technology’s success can be credited in large part to
    Christine’s keen business sense, her dedication to science education and
    commitment to her employees.

    Christine is involved in many community organizations including Planned
    Parenthood and the Business Education Compact.

    In her spare time, Christine enjoys running, biking, theatre and the arts, and