The Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Chemical Society recently honored Pollyanna Wikrent, a PCC full-time chemistry faculty member, with its College Educator Excellence in Teaching Award.
Wikrent, who is based at PCC’s Desert Vista Campus, received the award during a ceremony on April 25. Nominators cited her love of learning, positive engagement with students and her willingness to accommodate the needs of adult students. She also was honored for pushing to establish weekend general chemistry classes at Desert Vista Campus, as a way to help science and engineering majors complete a full year of general chemistry coursework in two intensive eight-week sessions .
“This is one of the very few opportunities available in southern Arizona to take both sections of general chemistry exclusively on the weekends,” Wikrent said.
Desert Vista Campus President Johnson Bia and Desert Vista Campus Vice President of Instruction Ted Roush joined Chuck Weidner of ACS in presenting the award. Weidner is the chapter’s awards chairman.
Wikrent has been PCC full-time faculty since 2004. She began as adjunct faculty in 1999. She also is a Past Chair of the ACS Chapter and is currently serving on the ACS local Chemical Educator’s group, which brings together chemical educators from high schools, community colleges and universities to discuss current practices.
The College Educator Award for Excellence in Teaching, was established in 2006 and is given annually to recognize excellence in teaching chemistry, biochemistry or a chemistry-related field at a post-secondary institution that does not offer a Ph.D.-granting program in that field. The nominee must currently teach a chemistry-related discipline and must reside within the Southern Arizona section of the American Chemical Society.
Wikrent is the fourth PCC faculty to receive the award. Most recently, Lonnie Burke, Ph.D., and full-time chemistry faculty at PCC’s East Campus, received the honor in 2011. This year, he is Chair-Elect of the chapter.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization representing professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society. The Southern Arizona chapter has about 500 active members.