McLaughlin receives Kopp International Achievement Award

Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, is a recipient of the 2015 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award. She is one of two people selected to receive this award. Established in 1995, the Kopp International Achievement Award recognizes faculty and staff members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. It is named for the late deputy vice president for international programs.

“Dr. McLaughlin is a magnet for the best students on this campus,” said Kenneth Thigpen, director of academic affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Her energetic and untiring presence on this campus is a sterling example for other faculty.”

McLaughlin received her doctorate in cell and developmental biology from Rutgers University/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).  She also received her master of science in cell and developmental biology from Florida State University.

McLaughlin’s quest is to improve the quality of education for current and future students and educators by developing and offering alternatives to conventional biology teaching methods. She has spent her academic career building and assessing new and effective classroom and laboratory environments, online learning tools and international field courses, said a nominator.

McLaughlin develops and leads embedded field courses to places including Alaska, Australia, China, Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, Tanzania, Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and Panama using her “Field Course Experiential Learning Model,” which she based on proven pedagogical practices.

McLaughlin also is founding director of Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences (CHANCE), an award-winning environmental education and professional development outreach program created at Penn State Lehigh Valley. Through the program, McLaughlin and her students have studied and sought solutions for some of the most troubling environmental issues confronting the world today. They’ve worked on water pollution in China, coral bleaching in Panama, the loss of biodiversity in Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests and deciduous forests of Pennsylvania. As the CHANCE Founding Director, she also oversees the website, international field courses, on-line research modules of this program, secures funding and partnerships. At the present time, 44 organizations worldwide including the Durrell Conservation Trust, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS), Science/AAAS, Nanjing University and Jiangnan University are loyal CHANCE partners.

“It is through her leadership that CHANCE develops courses at all collegiate levels, builds programs which empower future problem-solvers of the world, secures funding, partners with others and shares and exchanges its good work through publications, presentations and outreach efforts,” said a nominator.

McLaughlin has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including Penn State’s prestigious “George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching” and the “Outstanding University/College Biology Teacher in the Nation Award” from the National Association of Biology Teachers. She is renowned for connecting her research to undergraduate learning experiences.

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Last Updated April 15, 2015