Excellence in Science Education & Outreach Award

Congratulations to our 2022 winner, Taking Flight - Next Level

KAS honored Taking Flight - Next Level with our 2022 award. This project is a partnership between the Ecological Research & Education Center (EREC), Kids MakeIt, and the Red Oaks Forest School. They are connecting students with hands-on research experiences working with birds, and reaching students from under-represented backgrounds.
Find out more about Taking Flight - Next Level
“This program has been very special for me and a lot of other people I know,” said Andrew Warren, 15, a Taking Flight student. “It’s just a very good opportunity to learn more about something that you wouldn’t normally be able to experience and just collect data, help research, and have a good time just being with birds.”

Accepting the award on November 12, 2022, were Dr. David Westneat from the EREC and David Laurenvil from Kids MakeIt.


The KAS Excellence in Science Education & Outreach Award provides recognition for unique activities, educational programs, or approaches that have increased the involvement, engagement, and sustainability of science in the Commonwealth. The annual award is open to individual KAS members or groups of KAS members (e.g. from the same institution/organizations or various institutions/organizations who are KAS members and have worked together collaboratively on Education and Public Outreach initiatives).


For this award, we define “outreach” activities as those geared to presenting science to lay audiences, rather than scientific professionals. The selection committee will consider the following factors: 1) the nominee’s personal advocacy and involvement in public outreach initiatives and events, 2) overall impact on the public. Qualifying activities include lectures, presentations, demonstrations, hands-on-activities, seminars, symposia, exhibits, magazine articles, and radio and television appearances. Outreach venues should be in public venues such as schools, libraries, malls, museums, churches, shopping malls, parks, and other public locations.


Any KAS member or group of members is eligible for nomination. Nominations must be made by a KAS member other than the nominee. The nominee must have made a major effort to reach the public with positive messages about science and/or have been involved in regular public outreach for 3 or more years. The nominee may have performed the activities as part of their job or a funded grant but outreach must not be the sole focus of their employment.

Application Materials

Nominations must be made on behalf of a KAS member by another KAS member, no self-nominations. The nominator must provide the Awards Committee with

  • a letter explaining why the nominee should win the award which should include a brief description of the nominee’s efforts including the types of activities, venues, and duration of involvement,
  • three letters of recommendation. These must come from 1) the nominee’s department chair or other supervisor, 2) a colleague, and 3) a community member or teacher who has participated in an outreach activity involving the nominee.

*Note: The nominee’s curriculum vitae/resume may be provided as supplementary material.

Nominate someone here

If you have questions please contact the Awards Committee chair, KAS Vice-President LiLi Zyzak

Nomination Deadline

Nominations must be received by September 30 at 11:59 pm. The Board will select an awardee near the end of October. The Awardee will be notified by letter and invited to give a talk about their work at the annual KAS Meeting the following year.

Nature of the Award

The awardee(s) will receive

  1. (if an individual) Lifetime Membership in the Academy
  2. an invited speakership at the annual KAS meeting the year after the receipt of the award
  3. recognition in the KAS Newsletter
  4. an opportunity to have an invited paper detailing their Education and Public Outreach efforts in the KAS Newsletter or KAS Journal

Past winners
2022: Taking Flight: Next Level, a partnership between the Ecological Research & Education Center (EREC), Kids MakeIt, and the Red Oaks Forest School
2020: Dr. Nathan Vanderford, University of Kentucky, whose work through ACTION at the UK Markey Cancer Center increases Appalachian Kentucky students’ involvement and engagement in cancer research, education and outreach. Video
2019: Dr. Dave Robinson, Bellarmine University,  who founded & hosts the weekly radio show & podcast Bench Talk
          Dr. Roman Yampolskiy, who has been named a Top 30 AI Influencer
2018: Dr. Lenny Demoranville, Centre College, is improving science literacy on and off campus. Read more
2017: Dr. Kate Bulinski, Bellarmine University ( Watch a video of Kate Bulinski to find out about some of her Outreach activities)
2016: Dr. Richard Gelderman, Western Kentucky University