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Lawrence University: Geologist honored with national Outstanding Educator Award

APPLETON, WIS. — Teaching, mentoring and research contributions to the study of geology have earned Lawrence University Professor Marcia Bjornerud the 2011 Outstanding Educator Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists. She will be recognized Monday, Oct. 10 at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis, Minn.

Presented annually since 1988, the award honors college teachers “who have played a significant role in the education and support of women geoscientists both within and outside the classroom,” including encouraging women to pursue careers in geoscience, providing field and laboratory experiences and serving as a positive role model. Honorees also are selected on the basis of their professional contributions to the study of geology, their involvement with professional societies and participation in science education programs in their community.

“This award is especially meaningful because so many current and former Lawrence students — both women and men — worked together to nominate me,” said Bjornerud, a structural geologist who joined the Lawrence faculty in 1995. “Teaching is a pleasure when one has such wonderful students.”

Lawrence’s Walter Schober Professor in Environmental Studies, Bjornerud has honed her craft through more than 20 years of teaching experience, adopting the mantra “Teach less better,” with a focus on a more organic and deeper approach to the subject material, integrating and connecting concepts along the way. For more than 10 years, she has contributed to community science outreach programs for Fox Valley elementary and middle school students.

The recipient of Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowships in 2009 and 2000 for field research in New Zealand and Norway, respectively, Bjornerud was instrumental in the creation of Lawrence’s environmental studies program in 2000 and served as its director for six years.

She is the author of the science textbook “The Blue Planet” and the 2005 book “Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth,” in which she provides a tour of “deep time,” chronicles the planet’s changes and examines the toll human activity is exacting on Earth. She was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America in 2003 and was recognized with Lawrence’s Excellence in Scholarship or Creative Activity Award in 2007.

About Lawrence University

Charting an uncommon course in higher education for more than 160 years, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It ranks among the nation's best small, private colleges, and was selected for inclusion in the book "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College." The development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience, where classes or creative and research projects tailored to students' educational interests and life objectives are prevalent. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries. Its picturesque, residential campus is nestled on the banks of the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. For more information about Lawrence University visit http://www.lawrence.edu or find us on Facebook.

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