2008 ASP Annual Award Recipients
J. Brennan Award
Wilhelmus van der Veen
New Jersey Astronomy Center for Education at Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville, NJ
The ASP is delighted to present the 2008 Thomas J. Brennan Award for exceptional achievement related to the teaching of astronomy at the high school level to Wilhelmus (Wil) van der Veen, who has had a profound impact on the teaching of secondary-level astronomy in New Jersey.
Wil has developed 16 different astronomy workshops to provide training for New Jersey teachers, workshops that are regularly described by the teachers as "wonderful and awesome." His 200-plus sessions have resulted in the training of more than 4,000 New Jersey teachers. These teachers, who have been introduced to his excellent and enthusiastic teaching, now are requesting more extensive trainings for entire groups of grade-level teachers. This growing movement has initiated many partnerships with school districts.
He also created a new Project ASTRO and Family ASTRO site in New Jersey, housed at the New Jersey Astronomy Center at Raritan Valley Community College. He has received numerous IDEAS and EPA grants to support these programs.
Among his many other commitments to teacher training and development, Wilhelmus van der Veen is the lead science educator on a NASA grant with NJIT, which provides a website and a series of workshops to help high school teachers integrate astronomy content into biology, chemistry, and physics curriculums. He is also the lead on a grant with Princeton University to develop a "Gravity and Orbital Motion" teacher's guide.