The William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science



About the Award

The William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science was established by NCSCE and named in honor of its first recipient for his lifetime contributions to citizen science. The first award was presented to its namesake at a ceremony on Capitol Hill on March 31, 2009. The William E. Bennett Award is awarded annually to an individual or team whose SENCER and other related activities have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions to citizen science.


2016 Awardees


This year, we honored two longtime members of the SENCER community, Drs. Judith Iriarte-Gross of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), and Garon Smith, recently retired from the University of Montana. Both have made lasting impacts on their universities, communities, students, and colleagues with their dedication to improving STEM education and engaging students.


Awards were announced during the 2016 SENCER Summer Institute at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. To read more about Judith and Garon, please click here.



2015 Awardees


The 2015 individual and team honorees provide inspirational examples of local and global impacts. Sherryl Broverman’s (pictured) remarkable achievements in both increasing attention to HIV disease in the Duke curriculum and advancing education of girls in Kenya through the founding of a secondary school emerged directly from her work with the SENCER project, and she has both inspired our community and served as model of rigorous science education through global engagement and service.


Drs. Winnie Yu, James Tait, Vince Breslin, Terese Gemme, Terri Bennett, Susan Cusato of Southern Connecticut State University received the team award. Since 2004, 32 faculty members from Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), encompassing 12 departments and three of its schools, have both incorporated SENCER ideals into existing courses and programs as well as created new ones.


To read more about Sherryl Broverman and the SCSU team, please click here.

Past Recipients

Three Bennett Awards were issued in 2014, one to a team and two to individuals. Dr. Gary Booth of Brigham Young University and Congressman Rush Holt, former Representative of the 12th District of New Jersey (pictured, right), were honored with the individual awards. The team award went to the United States Military Academy at West Point's Core Interdisciplinary Team. Awards were presented to Dr. Booth and the West Point team during the 2014 SENCER Summer Institute at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Representative Holt was presented with his award during the 2014 Washington Symposium and Capitol Hill Poster Session. To read about Dr. Booth and the Core Interdisciplinary Team, click here. Click here to read about Representative Holt.

The 2013 honorees were Monica Devanas of Rutgers University (individual award) and faculty from the University of North Carolina Asheville (team): Ellen Bailey, David Clarke, Amy Lanou, Leah Matthews, Karin Peterson, Jason Wingert, and Sally Wasileski. The awards were distributed during the 2013 SENCER Summer Institute at Santa Clara University. To read about Monica Devanas, please click here. To read more about the University of North Carolina Asheville team, please click here.

In 2012, awards were given to a team of faculty from Roosevelt University and Dr. Marion Field Fass (pictured at right with William E. Bennett) of Beloit College. Click here to learn more about the award-winning work done by the Roosevelt University team and Dr. Field Fass.

In 2011, awards were given to both an individual and a team. The individual honored was Dr. Catherine Hurt Middlecamp, the director of the Chemistry Learning Center and the chair of the Integrated Liberal Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cathy has been with SENCER since its inception in 2000, serving as a senior associate, a member of the National Fellowship Board, and a member of the board of advisers for GLISTEN. With Omie Baldwin, she developed the 2004 SENCER Model course, Chemistry and Ethnicity: Uranium and American Indians. In 2007, Cathy was appointed as the editor-in-chief of Chemistry in Context, a project of the American Chemical Society that teaches chemistry in the context of real-world issues. As a member of the author team, she has been the lead author for the chapters on air quality, acid rain, ozone depletion, nuclear energy, and sustainability. In addition, Cathy has received numerous teaching awards, including the University of Wisconsin System-wide Underkofler Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004. She is a fellow of the Association for Women in AAAS, and in the inaugural class of fellows at the American Chemical Society. 

Dr. Jim Speer and the SENCER Student Leadership Team of Indiana State University have done tremendous work on Indiana State’s campus. The team includes Lauren Adams, M. Ross Alexander, Dustin Blaszcyk, Chase DuPont, Elise Hobbs, Adriahnna Lehman, Emily Pugh, Dorothy Rosene, Peter Rosene, and Julie Whitaker. Jim has encouraged student involvement in all aspects of applying the SENCER approach at Indiana State. Students were recruited and joined to share their expertise with the team, from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to public relations, political science, and law. The students have accomplished much in just one year, and continue to provide a substantive contribution to Indiana State. SENCER efforts across campus, including the Leadership Team, have benefitted from support provided by the University’s strategic plan.

The 2010 Bennett Award was given to a team of educators from Butler University who have been leaders on campus and in the SENCER community. Joseph Kirsch, professor of chemistry, accepted the award on behalf of his colleagues during the 2010 Capitol Hill Poster Session. His co-honorees were Donald Braid, Director of the Center for Citizenship and Community; Margaret Brabant, Professor of Political Science; and Robert Holm, Director of the Butler Institute for Research and Scholarship.



Photograph of Sherryl Broverman by Habib Yazdi and Sahid Limon/XY Content, Photograph of Rep. Rush Holt (NCSCE staff), Photograph of Marion Field Fass and William E. Bennett from


Nomination Process and Deadlines


Nomination Process

Individuals and teams are eligible to be considered for the Bennett Awards. To nominate an individual or a team, please write a letter giving your reasons for making the nomination in sufficient detail to enable the selection committee to assess the nominee's contributions to citizen science.

A CV or biosketch for the nominated individual, or, in the case of team nominations, a CV for each person to be named in association with the team effort, should be included. No more than two supporting letters may be submitted. Such letters are not required.


Your nomination letter (and supporting materials) should be addressed to "The Wm. E. Bennett Award Committee" and emailed as a PDF to

The recipients of the Bennett Award will be recognized at NCSCE national symposia for their achievements.


The deadline to submit nominations (and supporting materials) for the 2016 awards is June 2, 2016.