Thursday, April 23, 2009
Physicist Leonard Kisslinger is the co-awardee of the first Mark Gelfand Service Award for Educational Outreach Award
MCS Professor Leonad Kisslinger along with H&SS's Linda Flower were the first co-recipients of the Gelfrand Award. Established in 2009, The Gelfand Award is given annually to a member of the university community who has combined sustained, effective community service with academic coursework and a deliberate process of student reflection to enhance the learning experience and teach social responsibility to students while improving some aspect of life in the community.
Since 1998, Leonard Kisslinger has led the Carnegie Mellon Physics Concept Program. Middle school students from Pittsburgh Public Schools interact with undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty from the university to study fundamental physics concepts in an effort to provide the children with hands-on experience on how scientific research is carried out. The workshops enable the children to develop experiments to test related hypotheses. The children form solid relationships with college student role models and build self-confidence. The goal is to give the children the expertise that is necessary to compete in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition. Dozens of students have competed in the local competition and several have had success at the state science fair as a result of this program. Leonard has persisted to conduct this program for 11 years, frequently changing the targeted schools and working to establish relationships with teachers and administrators as schools close. He also works to secure funding from local foundations to cover the cost of transporting the students to Carnegie Mellon so that they can make use of cutting edge laboratories and equipment.