The late Dr. John C. Park, associate professor in the School of Education from 2012 until he passed away in June, was recently honored with posthumous awards by national organizations in science teaching.
The School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) awarded Park the George C. Mallinson Distinguished Service Award, the SSMA’s highest award recognizing notable and extensive service. At the time of Park’s passing, he was serving as past president of SSMA.
Park’s wife, Lory, accepted the award on his behalf at the SSMA annual convention, held October 29-31 in Oklahoma City. “John’s life was a great achievement,” she said. “For over 30 years he was able to do what he loved, and that was to teach and more specifically teach science. He loved science, and he loved sharing his knowledge with his students.”
SSMA also established the John Park Graduate Student Award, recognizing Park’s interest in encouraging new researchers. Lory presented the scholarships to the first three recipients, who receive financial assistance to attend the SSMA convention.
The program for SSMA’s convention featured a page in memory of Park, noting, “John’s long-time service to SSMA included: Convention Program Chair, multiple terms on the Board of Directors, SSMJ Reviewer, SSMA President from 2012-2014 and Past President. John had a national reputation as a teacher-educator and served in leadership roles within the profession beyond SSMA. John was a beloved SSMA member and will truly be missed by all.”
All attendees at SSMA received a “Memory of Dr. John C. Park” bracelet to wear and a Hawaiian lei. Park always dressed in Hawaiian attire for the annual SSMA convention.
Park was also honored by the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI), which renamed the NTLI Fellowship award in science the John C. Park National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship.
The National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship recognizes an exemplary presentation on technology at the annual conferences of the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE), the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE), the College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA) of the National Council for Social Studies, and the National Council of Teachers of English Conference on English Education (CEE). The NTLI Fellowship encourages dialogue among professional associations regarding appropriate technology use in teacher education.
Park had previously won this award in 2003 and 2006. In other years, he was a member of the selection committee for the award. Lory Park accepted the honor in a ceremony at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 1.
Park will also be honored Nov. 12 by the North Carolina Science Teachers Association, where a science teacher will receive a newly established award named for Park.
In April of 2016, the National Science Teachers Association will present a newly established scholarship award in Park’s name to a new science teacher to fund attendance at the national conference.
Park joined the Baylor faculty in January 2012, after a long career teaching from 1985 to 2011 at North Carolina State University that culminated in the title of associate professor emeritus. He also taught as a graduate student at The Ohio State University and was a high school science teacher from 1978 to 1982.
Park was involved in several professional organizations and had received a number of national awards. Among his awards were the 2011 North Carolina Science Teachers Association Distinguished Service Award, two Association for Science Teacher Education national awards for his papers on use of technology in teaching science (2003 and 2006), and the 1990-1991 North Carolina State University Outstanding Teacher Award.
Park graduated from Anderson College in Indiana with his B.A. in chemistry and physics and later earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in education from The Ohio State University.
“John had an impressive national reputation as a teacher-educator and served in many important leadership roles within the profession,” said Dr. Larry J. Browning, professor and chair of the department of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education. “At Baylor, he always engaged with students and peers in a manner that clearly expressed his Christian beliefs. His gentle demeanor, warm smile and collegial attitude will be greatly missed at Baylor and in the School of Education.”
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