Helios Education Foundation’s Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez Honored with National Science Award

Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:00am EDT

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Helios Education Foundation’s Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez Honored with National Science Award

Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, Helios Education Foundation’s Vice President and Program Director for Arizona Transition Years, Teacher and Curriculum Initiatives, has received the National Science Board’s 2013 Public Service Award for her expertise and leadership in the field of K-12 science and math education.

Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, Vice President & Program Director, Transition Years - Teacher and Curriculum In ...

Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, Vice President & Program Director, Transition Years - Teacher and Curriculum Initiatives, Helios Education Foundation (Photo: Business Wire)

Dr. Vasquez is the first K-12 educator to receive the prestigious award and joins the ranks of previous recipients, including: Alan Alda, actor, director and author; Craig Barrett, former Chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation; and Jane Goodall, primatologist and anthropologist.

"Helios Education Foundation couldn’t be more proud of Jo Anne’s achievements and of her receiving the prestigious Public Service Award from the National Science Board,” said Helios’ President and CEO Paul J. Luna. “Jo Anne is not only one of the country’s foremost experts in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) education, but she has amassed a vast amount of knowledge in K-12 and college and university pedagogy. Above all, Jo Anne is an educator at heart who is still passionate about the success of every student, and we are privileged to have her as part of our Helios team.”

Dr. Vasquez’s career-long experience teaching, mentoring and working with science and math teachers makes her a critical asset on Helios’ Community Investment team, where she helps lead the Foundation’s STEM education initiatives.

“I am honored to have been awarded the National Science Board's 2013 Public Service Award,” said Vasquez. “I appreciate the National Science Board and the National Science Foundation for recognizing my contributions to and avocation for the need to provide continued, quality professional development for math and science teachers. Research has shown that highly skilled teachers are a key factor for preparing all students for postsecondary success."

Prior to joining Helios, Dr. Vasquez served as Director of Professional Development and Outreach at Arizona State University’s Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology.

She has been a classroom teacher and district science specialist for Mesa Public Schools, as well as an adjunct professor of science education at Arizona State University.

She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology, a Master's in Early Childhood Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. She is the only K-12 educator appointed to the National Science Board (NSB), which is the governing board of the National Science Foundation.

"Jo Anne Vasquez has been and continues to be a strong and convincing voice for classroom teachers, and has learned first-hand the art and science of teaching in the K-12 classroom," said NSB Chairman Dan Arvizu.

She is a Past President of the National Science Teachers Association, National Science Education Leadership Association, Arizona Science Teachers Association and the International Council of Science Education. Throughout her career, she has mentored thousands of teachers, for which she has earned many awards, including science education's highest, the Robert H. Carlton Award.

Author of several science textbooks and books on science teaching, Vasquez's latest publication, STEM Lesson Essentials for Grades 3-8, was inspired by research she conducted while serving as a member of the NSB. In addition, Vasquez contributed to the 2007 NSB report, National Action Plan for Addressing the Critical Needs of the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education System.

About Helios Education Foundation

Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectations, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida. The Foundation focuses its investments across the education continuum in three key impact areas: Early Childhood Education, the Transition Years and Postsecondary Success.

As an engaged foundation, embedded in communities across both states, the Foundation is contributing its leadership, expertise and financial resources to better prepare students for college and career and to compete successfully in a globally competitive economy. Since 2006, Helios has invested over $125 million in education-related programs and initiatives in Arizona and Florida. As part of that, approximately $12 million has been invested in STEM programs and initiatives. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.helios.org.

Helios Education Foundation
Ian Smith 813-449-6304
Rebecca Lindgren 602-381-2294