SEATTLE – John “Skip” Paznokas, director at the Science Math Engineering Education Center (SMEEC) at Washington State University is one of five in Washington state receiving the 2006/2007 Science Education Advocate award from Washington State LASER (Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform), with support from The Boeing Company. Paznokas also serves as assistant dean of the College of Sciences and is an associate professor of biological sciences.

The award will be presented to Paznokas on June 1 at a reception being held in his honor at 4 p.m. in the Lewis Alumni Centre, 1 Lincoln Dr., on the Pullman campus.

Presented for the first time this year, the awards will go to five individuals, organizations, or project teams who exhibited outstanding advocacy for science education in the state of Washington by promoting the importance of science education among the general public or the education system.

For the past 20 years Paznokas has been involved with a variety of initiatives and participated on numerous task forces and education boards and committees involving science education K-20. Paznokas has maintained an equipment loan program for middle and high school science teachers since 1992.

“The intent of the Science Education Advocate Awards is to recognize and raise public awareness of advocacy across the broadest possible spectrum of science education efforts,” said Dennis Schatz, vice president for education at Pacific Science Center and co-director for LASER. “Awardees are being recognized for their advocacy efforts – not necessarily their work as science educators. We want to stress how important strong community support and advocacy is to developing science literacy in our state.”

As director at the SMEEC, Paznokas brings together educators from WSU colleges of Education, Engineering, Sciences and Agriculture, the University of Idaho, local K-12 educators and administrators and community leaders to focus discussions on issues of K-20 education.

“My primary goal in education is to help individuals of all ages develop the potential to become problem solvers involving science, mathematics or engineering concepts.” said Paznokas. “To this end I have worked with kindergarten students to adults in classrooms as well as at community events such as the Lentil Festival in Pullman.”

Efforts at all levels of science education – including early learner, K-12, vocational, undergraduate, graduate, adult, and informal/public science education – were eligible for consideration.

The 2006/2007 Science Education Advocate Awards went to two organizations, two individuals and one team.

The five awardees receive $5,000 each to be awarded to the not-for-profit organization or public education entity of their choice for use in its efforts on behalf of science education. The monetary reward as well as funding for the awards process was generously provided by the Boeing Company. Paznokas’s $5,000 donation will be awarded to the Science Math Engineering Education Center.

More information regarding the awardees is at:
http://www.wastatelaser.org/_awards/archive.asp.

Washington state LASER is a private public partnership with leadership from Pacific Science Center, Battelle and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Additional partners include Educational Service Districts, participating school districts, Washington Science Teachers Association, higher education institutions and the National Science Resource Center (NSRC), which is a non-profit science education organization sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and the National Academies. LASER receives financial support from the State Legislature, the Boeing Company, Battelle, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Agilent Technologies Foundation, Merck and Intel.

For more information about Washington State LASER and the Science Education Advocate Awards, visit http://www.wastatelaser.org.

For more information about Pacific Science Center, call (206) 443-2001 or visit www.pacsci.org.