Public Release: 

NABT recognizes chemistry teacher with Genetics Education Award

Robert Gotwals wins annual award sponsored by ASHG and GSA

American Society of Human Genetics

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IMAGE: Robert R. Gotwals, Jr., M.S., of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, is the winner of the 2014 NABT Genetics Education Award. view more

Credit: Photo courtesy Robert Gotwals

BETHESDA, MD - The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) has named Robert R. Gotwals, Jr., M.S., chemistry and research instructor at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in Durham, the 2014 recipient of its Genetics Education Award.

This annual award recognizes innovative, student-centered classroom instruction to promote the understanding of genetics and its impact on inheritance, health, and biological research. Sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) and the Genetics Society of America (GSA), the award will be presented to Mr. Gotwals on Saturday, November 15, during NABT's 2014 Professional Development Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to a recognition plaque and a year of complimentary membership to NABT, GSA, and ASHG, Mr. Gotwals will receive a $1000 cash prize.

Mr. Gotwals, who holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry and master's degrees in science education and education for the hearing-impaired, has developed resources related to research and computational chemistry for both students and teachers. In particular, he worked with the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, to create and implement a program for high school students to conduct genetics research. Using videoconferencing, students in the program collaborate with Jackson Laboratory scientists to analyze complex genetic and genomic data obtained from disease studies in mice.

"NABT is proud to recognize Mr. Gotwals as its first Genetics Education Award recipient," said Priya DasSarma, M.S., of the University of Maryland, chair of the NABT Awards Committee. "He has impressive genetics education credentials, including producing a video, 'DNA: The Secret of Life,' with Dr. James D. Watson. He is an ideal messenger for high school students, motivating them to analyze data coming down the bioinformatics, genomic, and genetic pipelines along with researchers in a fruitful collaboration," she said.

In addition, Mr. Gotwals developed the North Carolina High School Computational Chemistry server, which he continues to support; and curricula in general chemistry, research methods, and computational sciences, which he has taught at NCSSM since 2006.

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Award Presentation: The 2014 NABT Genetics Education Award will be presented at the NABT Honors Luncheon on Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in Junior Ballroom A at the Cleveland Convention Center. Tickets are required.

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