Receiving the Presidential Award is an extraordinary and humbling honor and, for me, an affirmation of decades of work in science education. There is perhaps no greater calling than to be entrusted with shepherding and guiding our young people, providing them with the tools they need to succeed in STEM fields, and ushering in a new generation of engineers, doctors, biochemists, environmental scientists, researchers, and science-minded citizens.

Janice Coonrod Oakland, CA | 7-12, Science, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Janice “Jan” Coonrod has been working in the field of chemistry education since 1985. She has spent the past 10 years at Bishop O’Dowd High School where she has taught General Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, and Research Methods and Practice to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. After earning her teaching credentials, Janice went to work at Lawrence Hall of Science, a public science facility. She developed science curriculum, taught exciting hands-on science classes and professional development in-services focused on inquiry-based learning. Janice’s Honors Chemistry class is one of the most popular at Bishop O’Dowd, featuring the engaging, student-centered, evidence-based chemistry curriculum she helped to develop. She regularly uses her curriculum development skills to help bring new courses to the high school. From 1999 to 2010, Janice worked as an academic researcher in chemistry education at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), collaborating with a team led by Professor Angelica Stacy to create a comprehensive, year-long inquiry-based high school chemistry curriculum entitled Living By Chemistry. She was senior writer on the unique Living By Chemistry textbook which is intimately aligned with the curriculum. This research and development project was funded by the National Science Foundation. Janice coauthored an exhaustive survey of cutting-edge chemistry research called Opportunities in Chemistry: Today and Tomorrow, printed by National Academy Press in 1987 . Janice earned a B.A. in psychology from UC Berkeley and a M.A. in art therapy from Marylhurst College. She is a certified secondary science teacher and has a secondary certificate from the state of Oregon.

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