August 11, 2000

Shepherd lands national science education award

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Virginia Shepherd, Ph.D.

Shepherd lands national science education award

Virginia L. Shepherd, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Medicine and Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Director of Science Education Outreach for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will receive the third annual Bruce Alberts Award for Distinguished Contributions to Science Education.

The annual award is given by the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB) and will be presented to Shepherd, who is also a career scientist at the VA Medical Center, at the society’s annual meeting in San Francisco in December. Among the programs for which Shepherd is being honored is the “Girls and Science” summer camp, the design and implementation of a new research-based molecular biology course for Nashville’s science magnet school, and the development of a series of educational CDs.

The award was established to honor Bruce M. Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences and longtime faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco.

Alberts has played an instrumental role in focusing national attention on science education at all levels and will present the award at the December meeting.

In his nominating letter Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt pointed out how appropriate it would be for Shepherd to receive this award: Shortly after joining the faculty at Vanderbilt, Shepherd had the occasion to attend a workshop on science education.

The keynote speaker at this meeting was Dr. Bruce Alberts.

“Stirred by words from Dr. Alberts that all scientists should spend at least four hours per week volunteering in public school classrooms, Virginia returned to Vanderbilt committed to making a change in science education in Nashville and the State of Tennessee,” Wyatt recounted.

As a result, over the last eight years she has initiated a number of outstanding educational programs that have had a significant impact on education of students and teachers in Tennessee, he wrote.