Wichita high school chemistry teacher wins regional award

October 17, 2002

Chemistry teacher Janice P. Crowley of Wichita Collegiate Upper School in Wichita, Kan., will be honored Oct. 24 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, for outstanding high school chemistry teaching. She will receive the ACS Regional Award in High School Chemistry Teaching at the Society's Midwest Regional Meeting in Lawrence, Kan.

"I feel so lucky to be honored for doing something I love!" Crowley says.

Crowley -- who chairs the science department for preschool-12 and teaches general and AP chemistry -- is known for her enthusiasm and compassion for her students. She invites questions, conducts hands-on demonstrations and uses a variety of teaching styles and methods to clarify and reinforce. Many former students credit Crowley for preparing them for college and graduate school.

One of Crowley's colleagues describes her as a "risk taker and a believer that if you expect the best, you get the best." She has not been disappointed. As the head coach of the Science Olympiad, Crowley has seen her students excel at the local, state and national levels.

In her desire to expand the resources available to her students, Crowley has obtained many equipment and research grants throughout her career. Recently, Wichita Collegiate Upper School bought a high performance gas chromatographer -used to separate substances -- for Crowley's laboratory. She is leading her students in research to analyze omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in French fries. A $10,000 grant from Toyota funds the research.

Crowley's commitment to science education extends to her community. During the summers she teaches the Science Education for Public Understanding Program and a university level inorganic chemistry class at Wichita State. She also serves on the St. Thomas Aquinas School Board and chairs its grant committee.

Crowley studied chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and completed her bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her master's degree in science education from Wichita State University. In addition, she completed the Woodrow Wilson/Dreyfus Physics Workshop for secondary teachers at Benedictine College. She also received a Watkins Fellowship to research drug synthesis related to Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Currently Crowley is researching the ratio of linoleic to linolenic acid found in French fries and donuts. Her research has been published in the Journal of Chemical Education. She resides in Wichita, Kan.

The ACS Regional Award in High School Chemistry Teaching recognizes educators who challenge and inspire their students, provide high-quality instruction and participate in extracurricular activities that stimulate young people's interest in chemistry.

American Chemical Society

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