Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez Honored with National Science Award

Posted on: June 7, 2013

Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, Helios Education Foundation's Vice President and Program Director for Arizona Transition Years, Teacher and Curriculum Initiatives, has received  the National Science Board's 2013 Public Service Award for her expertise and leadership in the field of K-12 science and math education. 

Dr. Vasquez is the first K-12 educator to receive the prestigious award and joins the ranks of previous recipients including:  Alan Alda, actor, director and author; Craig Barrett, former Chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation;  and Jane Goodall, primatologist and anthropologist.     

"Helios Education Foundation couldn't be more proud of Jo Anne's achievements and of her receiving the prestigious Public Service Award from the National Science Board," said Helios' President and CEO Paul J. Luna. "Jo Anne is not only one of the country's foremost experts in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) education, but she has amassed a vast amount of knowledge in K-12 and college and university pedagogy. Above all, Jo Anne is an educator at heart who is still passionate about the success of every student, and we are privileged to have her as part of our Helios team."

Dr. Vasquez' career-long experience teaching, mentoring and working with science and math teachers makes her a critical asset on Helios' Community Investment team where she helps lead the Foundation's STEM education initiatives.

"I am honored to have been awarded the National Science Board's 2013 Public Service Award," said Vasquez.  "I appreciate the National Science Board and the National Science Foundation for recognizing my contributions to and avocation for the need to provide continued, quality professional development for math and science teachers. Research has shown that highly skilled teachers are a key factor for preparing all students for postsecondary success."

Prior to joining Helios, Dr. Vasquez served as Director of Professional Development and Outreach at Arizona State University's Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology.

She has been a classroom teacher and district science specialist for Mesa Public Schools as well as an adjunct professor of science education at Arizona State University.

She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology, a Master's in Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. She is the only K-12 educator appointed to the National Science Board (NSB), which is the governing board of the National Science Foundation.

"Jo Anne Vasquez has been and continues to be a strong and convincing voice for classroom teachers, and has learned first-hand the art and science of teaching in the K-12 classroom," said NSB Chairman Dan Arvizu.

She is a Past President of the National Science Teachers Association, National Science Education Leadership Association, Arizona Science Teachers Association and the International Council of Science Education. Throughout her career, she has mentored thousands of teachers, for which she has earned many awards, including science education's highest, the Robert H. Carlton Award.

Author of several science textbooks and books on science teaching, Vasquez' latest publication, STEM Lesson Essentials for Grades 3-8, was inspired by research she conducted while serving as a member of the NSB. In addition, Vasquez contributed to the 2007 NSB report, National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education System.  


Category: Foundation Feature

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