News Release

Genetics Society of America names Louisa Stark as recipient of Elizabeth W. Jones Award

Award recognizes significant and sustained impact in genetics education

Grant and Award Announcement

Genetics Society of America

BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce that Louisa A. Stark, PhD (University of Utah) has been awarded the Society's Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education in recognition of her significant and sustained impact in genetics education. The award, whose namesake was a renowned geneticist and educator, honors the remarkable advances in global access to genetics education enabled by Dr. Stark's work.

"Dr. Stark has pioneered innovative approaches and resources that have transformed the accessibility of genetics education," said Robin Wright, PhD, Head of the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning, Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Initiatives in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, and last year's winner of the Elizabeth W. Jones Award. "Her work will undoubtedly continue to inspire teachers and students for years to come."

Dr. Stark has had a major impact on improving genetics literacy worldwide. She has 20 years of experience in planning and teaching professional development programs for K-12 teachers. The University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center, which she directs, excels at developing interactive, multimedia materials that focus on making genetics easy for everyone to understand. These materials are freely disseminated via the Center's Learn.Genetics and Teach.Genetics websites. The sites constitute the most widely-used online genetics education resource in the world. In 2014, they were visited by almost 20 million students, educators, scientists, and members of the public who came from every country. With over 80 million page views annually, Learn.Genetics is among the most used sites on the Web. In 2010, the sites received the first award of the Science Prize for Online Resources in Education from AAAS/Science Magazine. Stark's work also has been recognized by awards from the American Society of Human Genetics, the governor of Utah, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Utah Science Teachers Association.

The Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education recognizes significant and sustained impact on genetics education. Recipients of the award have promoted greater exposure to and deeper understanding of genetics through distinguished teaching or mentoring, development of innovative pedagogical approaches or tools, design of new courses or curricula, national leadership, and/or public engagement and outreach.

The award was named posthumously for Elizabeth W. Jones (1939–2008), the recipient of the first GSA Excellence in Education Award in 2007. She was a renowned geneticist and educator who served as the 1987 GSA president and as Editor-in-Chief of GSA's journal GENETICS for almost 12 years (1996–2008).

To learn more about the GSA awards, and to view a list of previous recipients, please see

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About the Genetics Society of America (GSA)

Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators. The Society’s more than 5,000 members worldwide work to deepen our understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics, from the molecular to the population level. GSA promotes research and fosters communication through a number of GSA-sponsored conferences including regular meetings that focus on particular model organisms. GSA publishes two peer-reviewed, peer-edited scholarly journals: GENETICS, which has published high quality original research across the breadth of the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011 to disseminate high quality foundational research in genetics and genomics. The Society also has a deep commitment to education and fostering the next generation of scholars in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit

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