UGA plant biology graduate student wins national award

UGA plant biology graduate student wins national award

Athens, Ga. – A doctoral student in plant biology at the University of Georgia has been named one of 10 national recipients of the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards.

Cara Gormally was named a winner at UGA by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. These awards recognize graduate students who are committed to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others and who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education.

The individuals were chosen from a pool of more than 200 nominations through a rigorous application process through which they demonstrated their leadership ability or potential for exercising leadership in teaching and learning and their strong commitment to academic and civic responsibility.

The department of plant biology at UGA is in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Gormally is the fourth UGA student to win this award since 2002, according to Paul Quick, director of teaching assistant programs at UGA’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

“As a biologist and a teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to challenge and support my students in pursuit of two intertwined learning goals: to confront misconceptions about crucial biological ideas while learning basic biological concepts, and to cultivate an interest and an understanding of how we do science,” said Gormally. “For the majority of my non-science major students, the semester spent in my classroom will be their only experience doing science. Yet, these students will have to make decisions about biological issues, from evaluating claims about miracle diet drugs and controlling invasive kudzu in the backyard to understanding the spread of infectious diseases and the ramifications of environmental change. I want my students to leave my classroom with skills that enable them to engage and articulate these ideas in order to make well-considered choices.”

Gormally and other recipients of this award will later this month attend the annual meeting of AAC&U whose theme is “Ready or Not–Global Challenges, College Learning, and America’s Promise.” She and other winners will be honored at the opening plenary session. They also will be presenters in the session and will participate in other sessions and meetings throughout the conference.

“The ten scholars selected for the K. Patricia Cross Award are diverse in disciplines, personal backgrounds, and academic goals, but all share a passionate commitment to effective teaching and learning as a part of their ongoing scholarship” said L. Lee Knefelkamp, AAC&U Senior Scholar and a member of the award selection committee. “Every year the selection committee comments on how difficult it is to select only ten from the hundreds of nominees. This year was no different, and we are extraordinarily proud of our choices.”

For more information about AAC&U, its annual meeting, or the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, see www.aacu.org.