Dr. Edison R. Fowlks, professor of biology and director of the Biotechnology Laboratory at Hampton University, has been selected by the American Society for Cell Biology (ACSB) to receive the 2014 Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education.
The ACSB’s criteria for selecting a recipient of the Albert Award includes someone who has made both innovative and sustained contributions to science education. Since the 1970’s Fowlks has allowed students the opportunity to have hands on experience and use the classroom to teach the scientific method and not just memorize facts.
“I believe that we should use the class venue to teach research,” said Fowlks. “Most schools weren’t doing that that when I began teaching. It’s important that students learn how to contribute to the body of scientific information. We have to teach them how to think critically, how to study and how to learn.”
Since arriving at Hampton University in 1988, Fowlks has mentored countless students and encouraged them to earn Ph.D.s. One of his students is the current chair of the Biology Department, Dr. Michelle Penn-Marshall. During his tenure Fowlks has served as the Principal Investigator of Hampton’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grants, National Science Foundation (NSF) training grant and the W.M. Keck Foundation grant.
“My goal now is to help more young people get into Ph.D. programs,” said Fowlks. “We need to reach out to elementary schools and motivate students to become Ph.D. scientists.”
Fowlks will accept the award on December 7, at the 2014 ASCB/IFCB meeting in Philadelphia.