Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
November 16, 1998


Emory University cell biologist Robert DeHaan, Ph.D., has been recognized by the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB) for an innovative science education program he developed to help make science education exciting and relevant for elementary school students. Dr. DeHaan, who is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Cell Biology at Emory, has been named the first recipient of the Bruce Alberts Award for science education. The ASCB will bestow the Alberts Award on Dr. DeHaan at its national meeting in San Francisco on Dec. 13.

Dr. DeHaan, who also received Emory's Thomas Jefferson Award for teaching at this year's spring commencement, pioneered the Elementary Science Education Partners (ESEP) program in 1994 at a few Atlanta City and DeKalb County public elementary schools. After a one-year pilot project, the ESEP program received a $5.7 million grant in 1995 from the National Science Foundation and has since been used in the science education of more than 20,000 elementary school students in the Atlanta area.

After realizing that science education was a low priority in many U.S. elementary schools, Dr. DeHaan, working with colleagues at Georgia State University and the Morehouse School of Medicine, designed the ESEP program to allow teachers to understand the value and fun of asking questions about nature. The program provides students students opportunities to investigate and discover facts and concepts through "inquiry-based instruction" using hands-on activities.

Nearly 900 undergraduates from Emory, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and the four Atlanta University campuses have participated in the ESEP program as "science partners" with elementary school teachers.

"This award is a well-deserved honor for Dr. DeHaan and a source of pride for the Department of Cell Biology and for Emory," said Cell Biology Chair Barry Shur, Ph.D. "Bob DeHaan has identified a valuable niche in reeducating teachers so that they have a better appreciation of what science is all about and are able to communicate that to children."

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