Wednesday night was retirement celebration night for NCSE friend Judy Scotchmoor at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. The education director (or to give her full title, Assistant Director for Outreach and Education) at UCMP for decades, Judy has made UCMP a model for academic outreach to teachers throughout her career. She found funding for and shaped the wonderful and wildly popular Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science web sites, which receive upwards of a million hits per month. She also was responsible for a series of UCMP-sponsored workshops for teachers held in the Bay Area and in many other venues, including professional meetings of GSA and other associations. Pretty much all that I know about working with teachers has come from participating in those workshops and seeing Judy quietly modeling the most effective way to improve science education.
As noted by UCMP Director Charles Marshall, Judy is a force of nature in science education, coordinating the efforts of individuals and institutions to bring out the best in all. It’s not for nothing that she was presented with NCSE’s Friend of Darwin award, the Society for the Study of Evolution’s Stephen Jay Gould award, and the UC Chancellor’s Award for Public Service. Her very competent and creative successor as education director, Lisa White, will, I am sure, continue and build on the successful programs of her predecessor, but Judy’s departure nonetheless is a poignant moment. She will be missed!