Muskingum University Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau is the only college-level faculty member in the nation to earn the 2015 Vernier Technology Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
The award recognizes and rewards the innovative use of data collection technology using computers, graphing calculators or other handheld devices in the science classroom. Only seven awards are presented nationally: one at the elementary school level (grades K–5); two at the middle school level (grades 6–8); three at the high school level (grades 9–12); one at the college level. Founded in 1981, Vernier creates interfaces, sensors, software and curriculum to change how educators teach science and how students collect, analyze and interpret scientific data.
Dr. Zook-Gerdau was recognized for her work at Muskingum in the use of spectrometers and probes which are interfaced with computers to introduce chemical instrumentation in the chemistry curriculum. She also instructed her students on the development of a set of water quality laboratory experiments as a part of an environmental chemistry course that evolved from her students’ continuing water quality research project with the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District. Last year, the District recognized that work by naming her its Conservation Educator of the Year.
Dr. Zook-Gerdau joined the Muskingum faculty in 2002. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hiram College and her doctoral degree from the University of Iowa. As a post-doctoral fellow, she conducted fuel cell research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
At Muskingum, she is an advisor for the university’s Environmental Science program. Her scholarly interests include analytical chemistry, electrochemistry and environmental chemistry. She received the NSTA award at the organization’s national conference March 12 – 15 in Chicago.