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Dr. Nancy Elwess Named National Teacher of the Year

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) has named Dr. Nancy Elwess, associate professor biological sciences at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, the Four-Year College Biology Researcher/Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Nancy Elwess "It hasn't sunk in yet," said Elwess. "I am very excited. This is quite an honor."

NABT, which is comprised of more than 9,000 educators from across the country, empowers educators to provide the best possible biology and life science education for all students.

The selection of the Researcher/Teacher of the Year is based on excellence in research in biological science education as well as teaching.

"They are looking for creative approaches to teaching at several different levels," said Elwess. "NABT was also looking for the positive impact the teacher has on the students. They were especially impressed with the published research articles I have co-authored with my students. We have been engaged in very serious research."

Felecia Edwards is one of the students currently working on a research project with Elwess.

"Dr. Elwess has a love for science. It's very obvious, and she shares it with her students," said Edwards, who is a senior cellular biology major from Troy, N.Y. "Between classes and research, I have learned a lot from Dr. Elwess. She has provided me with different tools that will help me in graduate school."

Sandra Latourelle, adjunct faculty member of biological sciences at SUNY Plattsburgh, nominated Elwess for the award, which will be presented to her at the NABT National Conference in Milwaukee, Wis. in October.

"This is a great honor for Nancy," said Dr. John Ettling, president of SUNY Plattsburgh. "We are, in fact, honored to have Nancy as a member of our esteemed faculty.  I know her colleagues join me in a hearty congratulations for this outstanding recognition of her hard work and dedication to science, the College and most of all to her students."


Elwess joined the faculty in 1998 following a senior research fellow appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She holds a bachelor's in zoology from Eastern Illinois University, a master's in science education from Governors State University, a master's in biology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Vermont.

Elwess, who received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004, has co-authored numerous research articles with students in her six years at Plattsburgh. She has also given more than 20 invited presentations and sponsored numerous student presentations at local, regional and national conferences, including the National Association of Biology Teachers. General biology, genetics, bioinformatics, communicating biology and an honors course on bioethics and biotechnology are but a few of the courses she has taught at SUNY Plattsburgh.

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