Purdue to showcase science education efforts at national teachers event in Indianapolis

March 22, 2012

Purdue alumnus Joseph Ruhl, who has taught science at Lafayette Jefferson High School for more than three decades, will be honored as the 2012 recipient of the National Shell Science Teaching Award at the National Science Teachers Association annual conference in Indianapolis. He also will participate in activities at Purdue's booth during the conference, which runs from March 29 to April 1. (Photo provided by Lafayette Jefferson High School)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The nation's top science teachers will descend on Indianapolis next week for the National Science Teachers Association annual conference. A Purdue team of faculty members and administrators will be on hand to highlight the university's global role in advancing science learning in the classroom.

Themed At the Crossroads for Science Education, the NSTA event is expected to draw 10,000 U.S. science teachers and include more than 1,500 sessions and 400 exhibits. It will run from March 29 to April 1 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

"This year's conference provides Purdue with a national forum to highlight our efforts in the STEM education fields - science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Chris Foster, Purdue's NSTA team leader who directs Discovery Park's P-12 STEM education efforts. "Being so close to Indianapolis, we're extremely excited that many Purdue faculty members, administrators and staff will be able to network, share best practices and plant the seeds for collaboration with the nation's top science education leaders."

Faculty members and staff from Purdue's colleges of Agriculture, Education, Engineering, Heath and Human Sciences, Science and Technology plan nearly 50 presentations, talks and workshops over the course of the four-day conference. Purdue Provost Timothy D. Sands and Suresh V. Garimella, associate vice president for engagement, also will attend.

Chris Foster

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Research centers participating from Purdue include the Discovery Learning Research Center, George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, Center for Instructional Excellence and the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE). For a complete schedule, go to http://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/p14stem/nsta/

Purdue biological sciences alumnus Joseph Ruhl also will be honored by the NSTA as the sole 2012 recipient of the National Shell Science Teaching Award. A science teacher at Lafayette (Ind.) Jefferson High School for more than 30 years, Ruhl received a $10,000 prize and an all-expense paid trip to the Indianapolis conference for winning the award.

"I felt honored by the Shell Science Teaching Award, but I was also humbled because I was reminded of all the wonderful gifted and talented colleagues who I have learned from over the years," Ruhl said. "I am grateful for the education I received from Purdue University and the inspiring mentoring I received from professors like Sam Postlethwait and Jane Butler Kahle.

"This award has reminded me of how important it is to return the favor and to be intentional about being a mentor to my own colleagues and students."

Ruhl's resume includes awards such as Outstanding Biology Teacher of Indiana, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, and Purdue's College of Science Distinguished Alumnus Award for Excellence in K-12 Teaching. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Purdue in 1977 and 1980.

Purdue's NSTA exhibition booth, which will measure 30-by-50 feet, will offer demonstration space and a stage and seating for talks, activities and other programs.

With the conference's proximity to Purdue's main campus, up to 60 science teachers will be offered transportation to West Lafayette for a tour of the university's state-of-the art research and science learning facilities, including Discovery Park's Birck Nanotechnology Center, Bindley Bioscience Center and the Hall for Discovery and Learning Research.

The Hoosier Association of Science Teachers is serving as host for this year's NSTA conference.

The Arlington, Va.-based NSTA is the largest professional organization in the world, promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. Its membership includes more than 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

NSTA Press produces 20-25 new books each year. Focused on the Pre K-college market and specifically aimed at science teachers, NSTA Press titles offer a blend of accurate scientific content and sound teaching strategies.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Chris Foster, 765-494-2981, cjfoster@purdue.edu

                  Joseph Ruhl, 765-jruhl@lsc.k12.in.us, 765-772-4700, ext. 2651

Related websites:
Discovery Park P-14 STEM

Discovery Park