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Holding the Key to Great Teaching
CHESTERTOWN, MD—For more than 100 years, Iota Sigma Pi, the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry, has been recognizing and celebrating accomplished women in the field. This year the society has chosen Anne Marteel-Parrish, chair of the Washington College chemistry department, as the recipient of its Centennial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Anne Marteel-Parrish began teaching at Washington College in 2003 after earning her Ph.D. in chemistry with a concentration in materials science from the University of Toledo. She also holds an engineering degree in materials science from the Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire de Lille in her native France. In 2011, she was invested as the inaugural Frank J. Creegan Chair in Green Chemistry at Washington College, an endowed position—the second of its kind in the nation—that honors a retired colleague.
Marteel-Parrish teaches specialty courses such as Fundamentals of Materials Science, and Green and Sustainable Chemistry. In announcing her teaching award, Iota Sigma Pi described her as “a steadfast champion of the green chemistry movement, believing that her commitment to environmental stewardship builds a bridge that links her students’ interest in scientific inquiry with their creativity.” She is the primary author of the textbook Green Chemistry and Engineering: A Pathway to Sustainability (2013, Wiley and Sons Publishers), as well as numerous other publications and presentations on curricular innovations and research in the green chemistry field.
Marteel-Parrish designed and taught one of the first courses on green chemistry to be offered in the United States: Towards the Greening of Our Minds and Sustainable Chemistry, taught at Washington College in the Spring 2005 semester. She received a Washington College Curricular Innovation Award for developing a laboratory manual titled Green Goggles: Experiments in 21st Century Chemistry, and she retooled her Honors General Chemistry course to incorporate environmentally benign techniques in all its aspects (inorganic, analytical, environmental, forensic, organic).
With funding from the College’s SANDBOX initiative, Marteel-Parrish is forging connections with her art colleagues and developing a new course called Greener Art through Greener Chemistry. It will introduce lab experiments that engage scientists and artists in developing sustainable materials and artistic practices. She has also designed an advanced course in materials science, in which students work on materials ranging from climbing ropes, heart valves, prosthetics, artificial joints and materials related to space travel.
Marteel-Parrish says she involves her students in discussions about preventing pollution in the hopes of sparking greater interest and “greening” their minds.
In letters of recommendation sent to Iota Sigma Pi, Provost and Dean Emily Chamlee-Wright wrote that Marteel-Parrish’s innovative teaching ignites a passion for scientific inquiry, and a current student said the professor pushed students to reach “and even go beyond the goals they have set for themselves.” One former student recalled being encouraged to think deeply about societal issues related to sustainability and another, now a graduate student, credited her continued academic success to Marteel-Parrish’s guidance and friendship.
Founded in 1902, Iota Sigma Pi works to engage female students in the study of chemistry and to promote the careers and lives of women already in the field. The society counts more than 10,000 members across the nation in what it refers to as the Sisterhood for the Advancement of Chemistry. The Centennial Award, one of the society’s four main professional awards, is bestowed each year on a professor of chemistry, biochemistry, or a related field who teaches primarily undergraduate students. Marteel-Parrish will be recognized at the Iota Sigma Pi Triennial Convention in Indianapolis in 2017.
For more information on Anne Marteel-Parrish visit http://ow.ly/LKGJw. For more information on Iota Sigma Pi or the Centennial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching visit http://www.iotasigmapi.info/.