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Steinhardt Faculty Wins Distinguished Service to Science Education Award

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Okhee Lee Photo

Okhee Lee

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) announced Professor of Childhood Education Okhee Lee as the recipient of its 2020 NSTA Distinguished Service to Science Education Award.

The award, sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program, honors a scholar who through active leadership and scholarly endeavor over a significant period of time has made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of education in the sciences and teaching.

Lee’s research accomplishments over the last three decades demonstrate consistent innovation in addressing issues of equity in science teaching, student learning and science teacher education. Her work has deepened the research base for teaching and teacher education toward meeting the needs of diverse student groups and leveraging the strengths that diverse students bring to content area classrooms, especially English learners in science classrooms. 

Lee has established herself as one of the most influential scholars in equity and social justice in elementary school science teaching and learning. While her earlier research focused on the intersections of science education, language, culture, and teacher education in the classroom, her current research addresses national policies and reforms as curriculum, instruction, and teacher professional learning are shifting in response to the Next Generation Science Standards. 

Recently, and in collaboration with others at NYU, Lee was contracted by the NYS Education Department (offices of Curriculum and Instruction-Science, Bilingual Education and World Languages) to develop comprehensive materials to be used for teachers across the state and beyond. Her vision of achieving equity in elementary science education through culturally and linguistically relevant, sustainable programs is widely shared and vigorously pursued. 

David Crowther, professor of Science Education, University of Nevada, Reno, says, “I cannot think of a person who is more deserving and qualified to receive this award. Dr. Lee has had and continues to have an extraordinary contribution to science education over her career that has truly made a difference in colleagues, teachers, and most importantly the lives of students in our schools.”

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