April 20, 2020

Episode 7 - It's in Our DNA

We highlight a Purdue alumnus who has received national recognition for his influence and impact as a science teacher. Also, a Purdue alumna shares how she moved science research forward on national and global scales. 

In this episode of This Is Purdue, we highlight Joe Ruhl and Rita Colwell, two Boilermakers who have shared their passion for science in the United States and abroad.

For Ruhl, teaching is a calling. He has spent more than 40 years teaching biology and genetics at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana. In Part 1 of this episode, he reflects on how his teaching methods allow students to be self-motivators while he learns more about them. His hard work and success in the classroom have brought two visits to the White House to receive prestigious awards: the 1989 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and induction in the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2017.

In Part 2 of this episode, alumna Rita Colwell shares how she helped move science research forward on national and global scales. As the director of the National Science Foundation from 1998-2004, she expanded its influence in multiple areas like k-12 science and math education and increasing the number of women and minorities in the science and engineering fields. Colwell also is credited for her work in fighting infectious diseases that are transmitted through water, particularly cholera. In this segment, you’ll hear how this recipient of 63 honorary doctorate degrees has taken many giant leaps.

After you hear their stories, please connect with us on our social pages to share your reaction.

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Online Resources:

  • Watch Joe Ruhl’s TedxTalk
  • Read more on Rita Colwell’s story
  • Read Rita Colwell’s December 2020 commencement address here


Where to listen

Where to Watch

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