The 2012 recipients of the William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science are exemplary for their leadership and consistent good work. Dr. Marion Field Fass, Beloit College, was selected for the individual award, and faculty members from Roosevelt University received the team honor. The awards were announced during the Capitol Hill Poster Session in the Rayburn Building on March 13, during which Dr. Robert Seiser represented the Roosevelt University team during the presentation of the team award. The individual Bennett award will be presented to Dr. Marion Field Fass during the 2012 SENCER Summer Institute at Santa Clara University.
We have been fortunate to have Dr. Marion Field Fass involved in the SENCER community since the program’s inception. She has served as a Leadership Fellow, co-director of the SENCER Center for Innovation-Midwest, and has authored the model course Slow Food. In addition to her national work, Marion has been a critical innovator at Beloit College, where she is professor of biology and chair of the Health and Society program. As noted in the nominating letter sent by many of her colleagues, Marion’s “influence is evident throughout [Beloit’s] departmental, programmatic, and campus-wide curriculum.” She has offered courses that connect to larger, global issues, and was a leader in the development of the College’s Health and Society program, an interdisciplinary program that connects students to real-world public health issues at every level of society. She aims to deepen students’ understanding of the material they study and understand the larger implications of their work.
Roosevelt University faculty members first participated in a SENCER Summer Institute in 2005, and since then have adopted the SENCER ideals across the STEM curricula. The efforts at Roosevelt have focused primarily on core courses in chemistry, biology, and math, and all faculty who have been involved started with SENCER prior to their tenure processes. Members of the team have since achieved tenure, published, received additional grant funds to support their work, and taken on leadership roles. SENCER involvement has been “a primary means of pre-tenure faculty development” for RU and has provided faculty “a way to unite teaching and scholarshaip toward professional goals.” The Roosevelt University team includes Dr. Kristen Leckrone (chemistry), Dr. David Szpunar (chemistry), Dr. Melanie Pivarski (math), Dr. Barbara Gonzalez (math), Dr. Robert Seiser (biology), Dr. Kelly Wentz-Hunter (biology), Dr. Jie Yu (math), and Dr. Byoung-Sug Kim (education).
The William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science is given annually to a person, team or institution whose SENCER and other related activities have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions to citizen science. This year, we are making two awards, honoring both an individual and a team, diverse in their approach and experience, but alike in the quality of their contributions both to citizen science and to the SENCER community.
Dr. Catherine Hurt Middlecamp is the director of the Chemistry Learning Center and the chair of the Integrated Liberal Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cathy has been with SENCER since its inception in 2000, serving as a senior associate, a member of the National Fellowship Board, and a member of the board of advisers for GLISTEN. With Omie Baldwin, she developed the 2004 SENCER Model course, Chemistry and Ethnicity: Uranium and American Indians. In 2007, Cathy was appointed as the editor-in-chief of Chemistry in Context, a project of the American Chemical Society that teaches chemistry in the context of real-world issues. As a member of the author team, she has been the lead author for the chapters on air quality, acid rain, ozone depletion, nuclear energy, and sustainability. In addition, Cathy has received numerous teaching awards, including the University of Wisconsin System-wide Underkofler Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004. She is a fellow of the Association for Women in Science, a AAAS Fellow, and in the inaugural class of fellows at the American Chemical Society. Cathy will receive her award during the 2011 SENCER Summer Institute at Butler University.
Dr. Jim Speer and the SENCER Student Leadership Team of Indiana State University have done tremendous work on Indiana State’s campus. The Team includes Lauren Adams, M. Ross Alexander, Dustin Blaszcyk, Chase DuPont, Elise Hobbs, Adriahnna Lehman, Emily Pugh, Dorothy Rosene, Peter Rosene, and Julie Whitaker. Jim has encouraged student involvement in all aspects of applying the SENCER approach at Indiana State. Students were recruited and joined to share their expertise with the team, from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to public relations, political science, and law. The students have accomplished much in just one year, and continue to provide a substantive contribution to Indiana State. SENCER efforts across campus, including the Leadership Team, have benefitted from support provided by the University’s strategic plan. Jim and the Student Leadership Team will receive their award during the 2011 Washington Symposium and Capitol Hill Poster Session.
In 2009, the award was established and given to its namesake in recognition for his lifetime contributions to citizen science. The recipients of the 2010 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science were a team of educators from Butler University who have been leaders on campus and in the larger SENCER community. The honorees from Butler University were Dr. Joseph Kirsch, Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Donald Braid, Director of the Center for Citizenship and Community; Dr. Margaret Brabant, Professor of Political Science; and Dr. Robert Holm, Director of the Butler Institute for Research and Scholarship. On the Butler campus, they are transforming undergraduate STEM education in a step-by-step process that has consistently expanded their collection of courses that apply the SENCER approach. The team and other Butler colleagues have enlarged the opportunities for students and faculty at Butler to be engaged with matters of civic consequence.
Joseph Kirsch, professor of chemistry at Butler University, accepted the William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science on behalf of his team members on April 20th during the Capitol Hill Poster Session. The team of Kirsch, Margaret Brabant, Donald Braid, and Robert Holm were honored for their work in “transforming undergraduate STEM education in a step-by-step process” at their university, noted David Burns, executive director of NCSCE. The ceremony on Capitol Hill recognized the team’s accomplishments over the past several years as they’ve advanced their adaptations of the SENCER approach to program-wide.
The Washington Symposium and Capitol Hill Poster Session was held last week, April 19-21, and was co-hosted by the University of Maryland. The next issue of the eNews will highlight programs at the Washington Symposium and Capitol Hill Poster Session, and feature photographs, participant posters, downloadable audio files, and transcripts.
The William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science was established by the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and named in honor of its first recipient for his lifetime contributions to citizen science. The first award was presented to its namesake at a ceremony on Capitol Hill on March 31, 2009.
About William E. Bennett: Hailing from Chester, Pennsylvania, Bennett graduated from Lincoln University, holds a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University.
Prior to retirement, Bill served as senior science advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. During a long and distinguished career, Bennett held appointments as medical school faculty, bench scientist and scientist administrator in the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bill has published, lectured and consulted in the areas of cellular immunology, cell differentiation, medical education, and disease prevention. He chaired the Education and Credentials Committee of the US Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce on the US/Cuban Medical Scholarship Initiative, co-chaired its site visit to Cuba and authored the taskforce’s report on Cuban Medical Education. A long time advisor to the NSF-sponsored SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) project, Bill has served as one of the founding senior scholars with the National Center for Science & Civic Engagement. Currently, he sits on boards for Lincoln University and both CDC and NIH funded projects. He has been honored by numerous national and international organizations, medical colleges, and federal agencies. Bill also holds two honorary doctorates.
NCSCE’s “William E. Bennett Award” (immediately dubbed “the Webby” by old SENCER hands at the award ceremony), is the second award named after Bill. In 2000, he was the first recipient of the award named in his honor, The Annual William E. Bennett Award, at the Morehouse School of Medicine-an institution he helped to establish. Bill also holds two honorary doctorates.
The William E. Bennett Award will be awarded annually to a person, team or institution whose SENCER and other related activities have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions to citizen science. Details on the nomination and selection process will be announced at the SENCER Summer Institute in August and communicated to the broader NCSCE and SENCER communities following that formal announcement. It is our plan to make the 2010 award at a ceremony on Capitol Hill next spring.