Lisa Gentile wins the ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education

GentileUniversity of Richmond associate professor of chemistry Lisa Gentile has been named the recipient of the ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education.

Colleagues and students don’t hold back when asked to evaluate Gentile. They gush about her enthusiasm and about how she always delivers. They say she “rolls up her sleeves, gets out the chalk and goes to work.”  They call her a “dynamo.”

Those who work with Gentile -- who juggles department head duties, K-12 outreach efforts and intensive mentoring -- in the classroom and lab have come to expect no less than greatness from her, making her selection as the winner of the award all the more fitting, according to Barbara Gordon, executive director of ASBMB.

“Lisa’s commitment to teaching and turning her research into experiential-learning opportunities for students at all levels makes her an outstanding example for faculty at whatever stage of their careers,” Gordon said.

Gentile said she feels lucky to be recognized for simply doing the things she loves best.

“I am incredibly honored to be nominated for this award, especially considering the accomplishments of some of the past recipients,” she said.

Colleagues describe Gentile, long a vocal champion of undergraduate research and a pioneer of outreach activities for each institution at which she has hung her hat, as something of a change agent.

“Her energy, creativity and passion for curricular reform seem boundless. She seems to develop new courses with ease – all the while still mentoring research students, writing research proposals and submitting manuscripts for publication,” said professor Carol Parish, a member of Gentile’s department.

Today, Gentile is collaborating with colleagues from five different disciplines to establish a unique course that replaces standard introductory classes in computer science, biology, chemistry, physics and math. Instead of learning the subjects in isolation, students will approach them in an interdisciplinary way, according to professor J. Ellis Bell, who insisted that such reworking of curricula is “the future of science education.”

The ASBMB Award for Exemplary Contributions to Education is given annually to a scientist who encourages effective teaching and learning of biochemistry and molecular biology through his/her own teaching, leadership in education, writing, educational research, mentoring or public enlightenment. The Award consists of a cash prize of $3,000, and the winner will present a plenary symposium lecture at the 2010 ASBMB Annual meeting.



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