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Press release from PR Newswire

Innovative 'Mini-Med School' Takes First Place in the National ING Unsung Heroes® Awards Program Competition

Monday, October 10, 2011

Innovative 'Mini-Med School' Takes First Place in the National ING Unsung Heroes® Awards Program Competition09:30 EDT Monday, October 10, 2011The ING Unsung Heroes® Program Celebrates 15 Years -- Awarding a Cumulative Total of Nearly $3.8 Million and Honoring Innovation and Creativity Among the Nation's EducatorsATLANTA, Oct. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ING, a leading provider of employer-sponsored retirement plans for educators, businesses, and government and not-for-profit entities, announced that Rebecca Brewer, a biology teacher at Troy High School in Troy, Mich., has received the top prize in the national 2011 ING Unsung Heroes awards program. Through this program, ING awards educators throughout the U.S. grants for innovative teaching ideas. As the first-place winner, Brewer will receive $25,000 to add to her initial $2,000 grant. This brings her grant total to $27,000 to help fund "Mini-Med School," the award-winning program she is implementing at Troy High School that takes her AP biology students beyond simply dissecting organs, to actually simulating surgeries.  "Rebecca Brewer finds ways to not only teach students but reach them to facilitate authentic learning," said Mark Dziatczak, principal, Troy High School. "Mrs. Brewer's innovative lessons demonstrate the rigor, creativity and relevance needed to prepare Troy High's students to become the successful scientists and doctors of tomorrow."Brewer's winning project, "Mini-Med School: Simulating Surgeries," is designed to move 11th and 12th grade biology students at Troy High School from simply dissecting preserved specimens to also performing mock surgical procedures on the organs. As an example, after they go through classroom learning about the anatomy of the heart, the next day, students will dissect the preserved heart. To take the learning to the next level, students are informed the next day that their "patient" had a heart attack and they will have to diagnose and treat the symptoms. Additionally, medical experts who have an existing relationship with the school because of the school's medical job-shadowing program, which Brewer has managed for the last seven years with the local hospital, will come in to talk to the students. For example, a cardiac surgeon would visit the class on heart surgery day and a neurosurgeon on brain surgery day. Ultimately, Brewer will engage her more than 100 AP Biology students in authentic learning experiences, igniting problem-solving through diagnosis of their patients and teach them new hands-on skills and techniques not typically taught in high school biology classes. The students will be graduating Troy High with not just exposure to medical procedures, but actual practice performing skills done on a surgeon's operating table, including how to suture a wound, the basics of performing bypass surgery, craniotomies and many more procedures. Because they will be gaining a much better sense of what it truly means to be a surgeon through practical applications, Brewer hopes the lessons inspire students to become the future doctors of tomorrow. Ideally, Brewer, who lives in Lake Orion, would like to expand the program beyond the walls of her own classroom and develop a "How-to Guide for Mock Surgeries in a Biology Classroom" for biology teachers nationwide.  "Educators are one of our country's most valuable resources and yet their hard work and efforts often times go unnoticed," said Brian Comer, president, Public Markets, ING U.S. Retirement Services. "We hope the additional grant funds Rebecca Brewer was awarded through the ING Unsung Heroes program will help to sustain 'Mini-Med School.' Educators make investments each day in the lives of our children. The very least we can do is to make an investment in them and their innovative programs that will benefit their classroom, their community and the lives of the children they will serve for years to come." For the past 15 years, the ING Unsung Heroes awards program has recognized kindergarten through 12th grade educators nationwide for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach. Since honoring the first "unsung hero" in 1996, ING has awarded nearly $3.8 million to nearly 1,600 educators across the U.S. Brewer was selected from a group of more than 1,400 applications and was one of five winners from Michigan. In 2011, ING will award a total of $240,000 in grants to U.S. educators in every state and the District of Columbia.To learn more about this year's winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes website at More information about the program can also be found on the ING Unsung Heroes Facebook page,, where people can "Like" and share the page to encourage more educators to apply. Applications for the 2012 ING Unsung Heroes awards are also available on the website.Media inquiries: Phil MargolisINGOffice: 860-580-2676Cell: ING ING U.S. is part of Dutch-based ING Groep N.V.  In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 15 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit's diversity management philosophy and commitment to workforce diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer.SOURCE ING