The 2012 Genetics Society of America Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education: David A. Micklos
Connelly, Tracey DePellegrin, Banerjee, Utpal, Genetics
EACH year, the Genetics Society of America honors an individual who has made significant and sustained contributions in the field of genetics education. In recognition of his extensive contributions to genetics education, and for bringing a genomics curriculum to a broad audience that includes K-12 to community colleges, large state institutions, small liberal arts colleges, and the lay public, David Micklos is this year's recipient of the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education.
Through his work as founder and executive director of the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Dave has ushered DNA science into the educational curriculum for thousands of students, high school teachers, and undergraduate faculty. The DNALC's website alone hosts more than 7 million visitors each year (http://www.dnalc.org).
Sally C. R. Elgin, Viktor Hamburger Professor of Biology, Genetics, and Education atWashington University in St. Louis, Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor, and recipient of the 2009 Genetics Society of America Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellent in Education, describes Micklos's achievements in this way:
Dave's impact is based on three factors: the high quality of the genetics materials he has generated and supervised, judged both by scientific accuracy and clarity of communication; his ability to take the newest research tools and adapt them for student-centered investigations; and his ability to garner the funds to take his programs to large number of students, in New York, across the United States, and indeed worldwide.
Dave brings to the field a combination of education, experience, and talent, all wrapped in vision and pragmatism. His early career roles have ranged from biology teacher for the Baltimore City Public Schools to science teacher at Moeng College in Botswana while serving in the Peace Corps to Seasonal Park Ranger and Naturalist in the Maryland and the National Park Service. He has written numerous articles and several scientific textbooks, including "Making the American Public DNA Literate" and "Genetic Testing: An Educational Imperative to Our Schools," and his most recent textbook co-authored with Bruce Nash and Uwe Hilgert, Genome Science: A Theoretical and Practical Introduction to Gene Analysis in Eukaryotes.
Dave has served as executive director of the DNALC since 1988, having arrived at CSHL in 1982 to start the laboratory's public affairs and development efforts.
"I do not know anyone who has made more significant contributions in bringing the excitement of genetics and genomics to a wide audience that includes both high school and undergraduate students and teachers," says Sue Wessler, distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Riverside, and HHMI Professor, who has collaborated with Micklos as part of the National Science Foundation-funded iPlant Collaborative (http://www.iplant collaborative.org/). "Dave has a genius for deconstructing experimental concepts in genetics and genomics and for building tools and classroom experiences that both enrich and motivate students."
Of Cold Springs and Chances
When asked at what age he became interested in science, Dave displays characteristic, self-effacing candor. "I was not," he says, with emphasis, "interested in science in high school. In fact, in junior high, I remember sitting in the back row of the lab, playing cards or fooling around with the alcohol burner." "I slept through a lot of my chemistry course," he adds. "I liked to watch the late show and was tired by that period."
An advanced biology course in college taught by an interesting, charismatic professor sparked a long-running love of science for Dave, then an elementary education major. With a graduate degree in journalism in 1982, and working at a top New York City firm conducting sociological research, Dave was an unlikely candidate for the position as head of public affairs and development for the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. …