UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Laura Guertin, professor of earth science at Penn State Brandywine, has been awarded the 2020 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.
The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment and service.
Guertin has built her career at the intersection of teaching, research and service, demonstrating extraordinary commitment to engaging audiences in exploring earth science’s relevance on life and society, nominators said.
Already the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Guertin finds ways to improve the education of her students, work closely with her colleagues, elevate underrepresented students in STEM-based fields and better her community.
Guertin’s transdisciplinary efforts include: teaching seventh-grade girls about surveying the ocean, co-organizing with Penn State Libraries an earth science week photography contest for undergraduates and developing a climate impact teach-in for the campus and local communities.
“On a daily basis, Guertin marries her intellectual commitment as a scientist and pedagogical values in the classroom with an unceasing moral dedication to serving the communities of which she is a part, a nominator said. “We are better equipped as a community and as citizens to face the challenges of the future because of her efforts.”
Guertin often embraces technology to enhance her reach and the education of her students.
Using Google Earth, her students produced an enhanced biodiversity walking tour for the nearby Ridley Creek State Park. Students also generated informative podcasts for the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association website. Currently, they’re generating earth science-themed Wiki pages for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Wiki. Students have contributed more than 75 pages to the SEG Wiki for the geoscience community and public.
The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Junior Girl Scouts of America and the Tyler Arboretum have also called on Guertin to enhance learning.
“Dr. Guertin is a highly accomplished educator, communicator, mentor and gender equity advocate,” a nominator said. “She is an exemplar of academic integration in its highest form, having effectively integrated her sustained success as a scholar into the classroom learning environment, where she is widely lauded for instructional and effectiveness, and into the community, where she is valued for her unique ability to communicate the impact of her work to a general audience.”