Kentucky Academy of Science

KAS Excellence in Science Education & Outreach Award

Congratulations to our 2016 winner,  Richard Gelderman of WKU

richard-gelderman-with-eric-jerdeDr. Richard Gelderman is a Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Western Kentucky University.  He is a long time member of both the Kentucky Academy of Science and the Kentucky Association of Physics Teachers (KAPT).  He has been the organizer and driver behind KAPT statewide meetings and has been the leader in developing and maintaining the south central physics teacher alliance for high school teachers. Richard has also organized a town wide annual Science Fest, has hosted the Science Activities center at the International Days festival, runs a monthly Community Coffeehouse of Science Discussions and heads the outreach committee to engage local schools and teachers in the safe observing of the 2017 total solar eclipse whose path of totality cuts right through his hometown of Bowling Green.  This is just a small list of his many and varied contributions to education and outreach in Kentucky.


The KAS Excellence in Science Education & Outreach Award provides recognition for unique activities, educational programs, or approaches that have increased the involvement, engagement, and sustainability of science in the Commonwealth. The annual award is open to individual KAS members or groups of KAS members (e.g. from the same institution/organizations or various institutions/organizations who are KAS members and have worked together collaboratively on Education and Public Outreach initiatives).


For this award, we define “outreach” activities as those geared to presenting science to lay audiences, rather than scientific professionals. The selection committee will consider the following factors: 1) the nominee’s personal advocacy and involvement in public outreach initiatives and events, 2) overall impact on the public. Qualifying activities include lectures, presentations, demonstrations, hands-on-activities, seminars, symposia, exhibits, magazine articles, and radio and television appearances. Outreach venues should be in public venues such as schools, libraries, malls, museums, churches, shopping malls, parks, and other public locations.


Any KAS member or group of members is eligible for nomination. Nominations must be made by a KAS member other than the nominee. The nominee must have made a major effort to reach the public with positive messages about science and/or have been involved in regular public outreach for 3 or more years. The nominee may have performed the activities as part of their job or a funded grant but outreach must not be the sole focus of their employment.

Application Materials
Nominations must be made on behalf of a KAS member by another KAS member, no self-nominations. The nominator must provide the Awards Committee with
• a letter explaining why the nominee should win the award which should include a brief description of the nominee’s efforts including the types of activities, venues, and duration of involvement,


• three letters of recommendation. These must come from 1) the nominee’s department chair or other supervisor, 2) a colleague, and 3) a community member or teacher who has participated in an outreach activity involving the nominee.

*Note: The nominee’s curriculum vitae/resume may be provided as supplementary material.

Please send Application Packet to Awards chair Leslie North

Nomination Deadline

A call for nominations will be sent out in the summer via the list-serve. Nominations must be received by September 30 at 11:59 pm. The Board will select an awardee near the end of October. The Awardee will be notified by letter and invited to give a talk about their work at the annual KAS Meeting the following year.

Nature of the Award

The awardee(s) will receive

a. (if an individual) lifetime Membership in the Academy
b. an invited speakership at the annual KAS meeting the year after the receipt of the award
c. recognition in the KAS Newsletter
d. an opportunity to have an invited paper detailing their Education and Public Outreach efforts in the KAS Newsletter or KAS