UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Laura Guertin, distinguished professor of Earth sciences at Penn State Brandywine, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of her scientific and socially notable achievements spanning her career. She was honored for outstanding contributions in teaching Earth science as an inquiry-based means to scientific literacy regardless of eventual major or career, especially using digital media effectively.
The honor comes just a few months after Guertin received the 2022 Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG).
AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals. Guertin was elected a Fellow along with more than 500 scientists, engineers and innovators from around the world and across all disciplines. Fellows come from academic institutions, laboratories and observatories, hospitals and medical centers, museums, global corporations, nonprofit organizations, institutes and government agencies.
Among the five Penn State faculty named a Fellow for 2022, only Guertin is from a Commonwealth Campus.
“I am deeply appreciative to all of my geoscience colleagues who have served as mentors and supporters of the innovations I have brought to my pedagogical research and classroom instruction.”
—Laura Guertin , distinguished professor of Earth sciences
“It is an incredible honor to be elected an AAAS Fellow,” Guertin said. “I am deeply appreciative to all of my geoscience colleagues who have served as mentors and supporters of the innovations I have brought to my pedagogical research and classroom instruction.”
Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells and Director of Academic Affairs Wiebke Strehl congratulated Guertin on her latest honors and lauded her commitment to her students and her discipline.
“Laura exemplifies Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service,” Wells said. “In addition to her innovative classroom strategies, she is prolific in her research activities and very engaged with community service. Her role as a mentor is greatly appreciated by her students and colleagues. She sets a standard of excellence in all her work.”
“Laura brings a high level of dedication, creativity and energy to all of her endeavors at Brandywine and Penn State, in our community and with professional associations,” Strehl added. “She is highly respected by her students and her peers. We’re fortunate to have her as part of our campus community.”
A tradition dating back to 1874, election as an AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor and all Fellows are expected to maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals.
The new Fellows will receive a certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (representing science and engineering, respectively) to commemorate their election and will be celebrated in Washington, D.C. in summer 2023. They will also be featured in the "AAAS News & Notes" section of Science in February 2023.
“Laura exemplifies Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and service. She sets a standard of excellence in all her work.”
—Marilyn J. Wells , Penn State Brandywine Chancellor
Last fall Guertin received the 2022 Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists. The award was presented at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Denver in October.
The award letter noted: “This award evaluates the candidate’s achievements in mentoring, teaching, and outreach. Winners must have exemplary achievements in at least two of these categories, however, the committee was particularly impressed with your significant contributions in all three categories. The powerful statements written by your nominator and the 15 letters of support paint the picture of an extremely dedicated geoscience mentor, teacher, and role model.”
AWG established the Outstanding Educator Award in 1988 to honor well-established women college or university teachers who have played a significant role in the education and support of geoscientists within and beyond the classroom, in advancing the persistence of females and underrepresented minorities in geoscience careers, and in raising the profile of the geosciences by teaching to and for the broadest audience of students.
According to its website, AWG is a global organization devoted to enhancing the quality and level of participation of women in geosciences and to introduce girls and young women to geoscience careers. Founded in 1977, AWG now has more than 1,000 members.
Guertin has received numerous honors and awards recognizing her teaching, research and community service. In 2020, she received both Penn State’s President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration and the Journal of Geoscience Education’s Outstanding Reviewer Award. In 2019, she received Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology Impact Award. In 2015, Guertin was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America for her complete devotion to undergraduate education on the local and national stage, for her dedication to training the next set of geoscience teachers, for her cutting-edge research involving technology in geoscience education, and for her leadership in the geoscience educational community.
Guertin received her bachelor of arts degree in geology from Bucknell University and her doctorate in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She joined Penn State Brandywine’s faculty in 2001. In February 2022 she received the title of distinguished professor of Earth sciences in recognition of her exceptional record of teaching, research and service to the Penn State community.
Her primary research focus is the effective integration of innovative technologies to improve student learning in introductory-level geoscience courses, particularly to improve student scientific literacy, information literacy, and geospatial skills.