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About the Award

The Graduate School begins accepting nominations on December 1 for the Sandra K. Abell Science Education Award. This award recognizes the outstanding achievements of a graduate student pursuing PhD studies in any natural science discipline who has demonstrated a dual passion for research and teaching. Unlike many of the other Graduate School awards, students must self-nominate for this award. Nominations are due the second Monday in March (March 11, 2024). A committee of faculty will review nominations and select an awardee. 

Dr. Sandra K. Abell was a great champion of science education at the University of Missouri, nationally and internationally. Her work over more than three decades was dedicated to unleashing a passion for science in students, from kindergarten to university. Here at the University of Missouri, Sandi inspired graduate students in science disciplines across campus to embrace teaching as a creative and rewarding endeavor. The Abell Science Education Award was created to honor Sandi’s memory and to recognize the outstanding achievements of a graduate student pursuing PhD studies in any natural science discipline who has demonstrated a dual passion for research and teaching. 

The Abell Awardee will be recognized in our spring semester awards celebration in late April. The award consists of a $1500 scholarship and a keepsake recognizing the honor. 

Eligibility Requirements


Students must self-nominate for this award. Nominees for the Abell Science Education Award should be second year or higher PhD students from a natural science discipline (i.e. biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, or geology) who demonstrate a commitment and interest in a career in college science teaching and science outreach as revealed by their involvement in science education coursework or other campus programs focused on developing college science teachers. 

Applicants will be evaluated on the following:

  • teaching accomplishments during graduate school
  • outreach and community engagement accomplishments during graduate school
  • professional development to improve teaching during graduate school
  • evidence of valuing their own learning, outreach, and professional development
  • aspirations, plans, and career goals related to college science teaching
  • extent and significance of impact in science education
  • overall potential for success in college science teaching

Awardees will be selected by a faculty committee.


Call For Nominations Goes Out: December 1
Nominations Due: March 11

Minimum Requirements for Nominations

Nomination packets must be submitted through MU Graduate School’s InfoReady site. Students must self-nominate for this award.

Nomination Materials:

  1. Completed nomination form in InfoReady
  2. Personal statement from the student that describes their current achievements in science education, as well as their aspirations, plans and goals for integrating science and science education into their careers (1-page single spaced, 12 pt font, upload as PDF)
  3. Two-page résumé or CV from the nominee that includes their teaching/outreach experience and accomplishments
  4. Four letters of reference from that describe the nominee’s commitment to science education, their likelihood of success as a college science teacher and/or their potential impact on the field of science education:
    • One letter must be from your faculty advisor
    • Additional three letters may be from faculty mentors and/or students (graduate or undergraduate) familiar with your experience in college science teaching

No additional materials may be submitted.