NCSCE Announces New Appointments and 2020 Bennett Award

At the “virtual” SENCER Summer Institute in August three new appointments to NCSCE leadership were announced. Davida S. Smyth, Associate Professor of Natural Sciences in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School, will assume the new position of Deputy Director, with special responsibility for professional development programs, pedagogy, and assessment in the SENCER initiative.   Davida brings a wealth of direct experience in mentoring students and faculty and designing “SENCERized” undergraduate research experiences, as well as deep knowledge of evidence-based practice in STEM education.

Amy Shachters longstanding role as the key organizer of the nine SENCER Centers of Innovation  has been formalized with her appointment as Director of SENCER Centers of Innovation and Regional Engagement.  Amy will also be the SENCER Visiting Research Scholar for the years 2020-2022 and will support research initiatives and grant development throughout the NCSCE network.

After decades of serving as supporter and advisor to the SENCER project, Jay Labov will join NCSCE as Director of Partnerships.  His long career at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and his personal leadership of many STEM improvement initiatives and research projects, has given him incomparable and systemic insight into every aspect of science education and the key levers of change and improvement.  For his contributions to science education Jay received NCSCE’s highest honor, the 2020 Wm. E. Bennett Award.

All three of these individuals have long associations with both SENCER and NCSCE, and have served as Senior Leadership Fellows.  We are grateful that NCSCE can draw on their deep knowledge and expertise, as well as their proven commitment to empowering students and faculty as informed and science-capable civic and community leaders.

The William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science was established by NCSCE in 2009 to recognize and celebrate champions who advance civically engaged science. The first William E. Bennett  award was presented to its namesake at a ceremony on Capitol Hill and is given annually to an individual and/or institutional team who have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions to our collective work. The 2020 recipient is Jay Labov.  A critical supporter and ally of the SENCER project from its inception, Jay has been a tireless advocate for formal science education from k-12 to graduate education, as well as for the public understanding of science, particularly around evolution and creationism.  In further recognition of his contributions in linking NCSCE and SENCER to key organizations and projects, Jay has assumed the role of Director of Partnerships at NCSCE and he will continue to support and expand our national collaborations with STEM reform initiatives.

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