Walters State professors now JEDI Masters

Published 5:07 pm Monday, March 18, 2024

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News Release

Two Walters State professors can now officially be addressed as JEDI knights.

Dr. Kelly Moore-Roberts and Elesha Goodfriend, both associate professors of biology, received the JEDI award from the National Association of Biology Teachers at their annual conference. 

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“Congratulations to Dr. Moore-Roberts and Ms. Goodfriend on receiving this national honor from their peers,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. “Both are focused on student success and constantly find new ways to share their love for biology in and out of the classroom.” 

JEDI is an acronym for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. 

Both professors have taken science on the road, holding free STEM events in low-income communities and hosting Science Night for students and parents. Both have led workshops in the college’s Talented and Gifted Program and taught in the college’s summer science teaching workshop for middle and high school teachers.

Each professor submitted a statement on their teaching philosophy as part of the nomination process for the JEDI award.

Moore-Roberts works to find ways to reach students who struggle with the subject. “My science teaching philosophy stems from an Albert Einstein quote: ‘Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing it is stupid,’” she said. “Each student has unlimited potential, and it is my job to teach each student biology in a way that unlocks that potential.”

Goodfriend believes that science and activity are intertwined in the classroom. “Science learning is an active process that should incorporate interactive, hands-on activities for students to help them grasp difficult concepts and enjoy science,” she said. All students deserve the opportunity to succeed and should be given the tools needed for success.”

The National Association of Biology Teachers was formed in 1938. Its mission is to recruit, support, nurture, and promote students interested in biological sciences.  Nominations for the JEDI award were open to biology teachers of all levels, from high school to postgraduate.