News Sentinel: STEM Leadership Academy offering science teaching tips

The Knoxville News Sentinel featured a statewide middle school teacher professional development workshop called Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy. Three Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIRE) graduate students Stephen Wood, Jason Clement, and Ryan Ginder, as well undergraduate student Evan Ornouski and post-doctoral researcher Doug Aaron, led over seventy middle school science teachers from fifty-three school districts in three separate energy engineering challenges over the three day event. Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage Using Outreach, Research, and Education (TN-SCORE) played a role in the academy by funding the CIRE students. The students helped develop educational hands-on modules that taught the teachers about microbial fuel cells, wind energy, and solar energy.

Simberloff Wins World's Top Prize for Ecology and Environmental Science

A University of Tennessee, Knoxville, professor who is one of the world's leading experts on invasive species has received the world's pre-eminent prize for ecology and environmental science.

Daniel Simberloff, the Gore-Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has won the 2012 Ramon Margalef Award for Ecology. The award is presented annually by the Government of Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeast Spain, "to recognize an exceptional scientific career or discovery in the field of ecological science."

Simberloff, who in May became UT's third faculty member in history to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences, is being honored for "his contributions to the observation and theoretical analysis of the structure and dynamics of ecological communities, and for the application of these studies to conservation biology."

Ecologists worldwide are considered for the prize named for Margalef, one of Spain's most distinguished scientists and a founding father of modern ecology. The prize includes a cash award of about $100,000 and a sculpture memorializing Margalef.

Gary McCracken, head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, said Simberloff has distinguished himself, not only as a scientist, but also as an exemplary teacher and colleague.

Although the Margalef Award was officially announced today, Simberloff learned of the honor three weeks ago while in France. Since he was planning to travel to Barcelona the next day to send his daughter to a summer study abroad program, the Margalef committee arranged to meet him at the government palace where he was congratulated by Catalan President Artus Mas.

Simberloff will return to Barcelona in October to receive the award at a ceremony at the Catalan government palace.