Skip Navigation

Biology professor wins national award for contributions to citizen science

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Marion Field Fass named 2012 winner by the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement

Marion Field Fass, biology professor and co-chair of Beloit’s health and society interdisciplinary program, has won the 2012 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science. The announcement was made on Wednesday by the Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities.

            “Dr. Fass has been a distinguished, long-time, unflagging, unfailing, and imaginative contributor to the precursor health and higher education and HIV/AIDS education work that led to the creation of Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER),” wrote David Burns, the executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, in a letter to Beloit College President Scott Bierman.

First presented in 2009, 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 award is given annually to an individual and/or a team whose SENCER and other related activities have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions to citizen science.

            “I'm really honored to be receiving the Bennett Award for Contributions to Citizen Science,” Fass said. “It is really an honor for the institution that has nurtured and supported SENCER approaches across the curriculum. Science at Beloit College is exceptional in that we encourage students to focus on real world problems as they learn the basic concepts and methods of these disciplines. The SENCER approach complements the work of the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium and the CHEMLinks project, which both originated at Beloit College, that have really pushed the boundaries of science pedagogy.”

Marion Fass 

Fass will be honored at the annual SENCER Summer Institute in San Jose, Calif., in August when she will share her thoughts on her work and this award. She was nominated for the award by her colleagues in the department of biology and the health and society program.

            “Marion has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the creation and communication of interdisciplinary opportunities that guide students and faculty to a better understanding of the intersection and overlap between science and civic issues,” wrote Fass’s colleagues in their nomination letter.

Fass has taught biology at Beloit College since 1991 and served as chair of the department from 2009-2011. Among her many affiliations, she is currently a faculty member at the SENCER Summer Institute, a SENCER leadership fellow, a member of the American Public Health Association, and an executive board member of the Wisconsin Health Education Network. Fass earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. For more information on Fass, see her biography here.

A signature program of NCSCE, SENCER supports an ever-growing community of faculty, students, academic leaders and others to improve undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. For more information on SENCER, visit