Posted April 27, 2007
Recently, Idaho State University associate professor of physics Steven Shropshire, PhD, was honored as the “2007 Distinguished Science Communicator” by the Idaho Academy of Science.
In an ironic twist, Shropshire was so busy doing what earned him the award that he wasn’t able to make the April 20 award dinner in Idaho Falls. Shropshire was making presentations at and helping to run the Idaho Museum of Natural History’s Science Trek Program for K-12 students.
“I feel incredibly honored and flattered to have received this award,” Shropshire said.
The IAS presents two major annual awards, Distinguished Scientist/Engineer and the Distinguished Science Communicator. The latter award was bestowed on Shropshire and is awarded to “an individual with outstanding achievements in communicating the meaning and value of science to students and/or the general public.”
Shropshire does plenty of educating to both groups. Since joining the ISU physics department in 1991, he has conducted more than 750 science demonstrations in Idaho schools and about 370 short workshops for Idaho science teachers. He also has presented science demonstrations and teacher workshops in other Western states including Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon. He also has been featured or been a guest several times on local television programs.
“Steve has done a great job of getting out into the community and talking to kids, teachers, and a variety of different people about science, conveying that science is fun and interesting,” said ISU chemistry professor René Rodriquez, PhD. He and ISU interim vice president of medical education Ronald McCune, PhD, co-nominated Shropshire for the award.
Shropshire also has made more than 50 presentations regarding demonstration methodology at local, regional, and national science meetings, including the Idaho Academy of Science.
“He enthusiastically believes it is critical for members of a modern society to better understand science and scientific methods,” said McCune and Rodriquez in their letter of nomination of Shropshire for the award. “This view has led him to develop and present interesting, exciting, and effective scientific demonstrations and workshops to students, teachers, and the general public.”
Since 1991, to help support his educational efforts, Shropshire has received more than 20 grant awards and nearly $200,000 in funding.
In 2006, he received two major honors from ISU. He received the ISU Achievement Award, presented by the ISU Alumni Association at Homecoming, to recognize outstanding contributions made to ISU by faculty or staff members. Each year, ISU also recognizes a single faculty member in three areas–public service, teaching and research. At 2006 Commencement, Shropshire received the ISU Distinguished Public Service award. He had four times previously been recognized with an ISU Outstanding Public Service award, which made him eligible for the Distinguished Public Service award on those occasions.
“We had an excellent pool of nominations this year and many worthy nominees,” said Dwight D. Wray, D.A., Brigham Young University – Idaho and coordinator of the award programs for the Idaho Academy of Science. “But Dr. Shropshire was truly deserving of the recognition and his commitment to the communication of science is outstanding.”