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).