March 15, 2010
Kelsey Jackson, JacksonKN@missouri.edu, (573) 882-8353
COLUMBIA, Mo. –President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign focuses on improving students’ performances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Before this national campaign, a University of Missouri professor worked to improve science education and decrease science teacher shortages in the United States. For her contributions and dedication to science education, MU professor Sandra Abell was presented with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Fellow Award at their national conference in March.
“My research has focused on examining how individuals learn to become science teachers,” said Abell, director of the MU Science Education Center and Curators’ Professor of Science Education in the College of Education and the Division of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science.
During her career, Abell has worked on several projects to improve science teaching and learning, including SMAR²T (Science and Mathematics Academy for the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers). SMAR²T is a post-baccalaureate science and mathematics teacher certification program for middle and high school students, which has doubled the number of teachers that MU produces in the science and math fields over the past 5 years. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Re-SMAR²T, a research project examining the development of teacher knowledge in SMAR²T, has begun.
Abell has worked to improve science education at all levels from kindergarten to college by encouraging the collaboration of scientists, classroom teachers and science education researchers.
The NSTA award recognizes members of the organization who have made significant contributions to science teaching, educational endeavors and original work. The NSTA is the largest K-20 organization focused on improving science education. In the past, Abell has received national recognition from other organizations, including the Association for Science Teacher Education, the Association for Education of Teachers of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Abell has written three books and more than 50 articles focusing on science teaching and learning.