Washington DC — The Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science today announced this year’s winner of the Paul Shin Award – an annual award honoring individuals for their dedication to communicating science to the public.
The 2012 winner is William (Bill) Gomez, Docent at Fitzgerald Marine Preserve and Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Bill was an executive with Syntex for many years and was fortunate to retire early at which point he turned his prodigious talents to teaching and volunteering with various ecology and environmental science groups in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. As a volunteer, his activities vary from speaking to a wide range of visitors about the ecology and biodiversity of the preserves, assisting with research projects, tidepooling for 3rd graders, scuba diving with marine biology students, to sharing science with students at a nearby alternative high school.
Cindy Wilber, Education Coordinator at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, nominated Mr. Gomez saying, “Bill’s extraordinary work teaching science to the public in both formal and informal ways has contributed much to the public understanding of science and inspired thousands of learners.” Stuart Koretz, a fellow docent at the preserve wrote, “His respect and love for the natural world, detailed knowledge of natural history, enthusiastic teaching style, modesty and openness make him one of the great unsung heroes: he works tirelessly, without compensation, out of a strong need to reach out and teach natural science.”
Upon receiving the award, Mr. Gomez simply said, “I am deeply honored and overwhelmed.” Mr. Gomez will attend the COPUS 2012 Invitational UnConference in March to receive a $500 cash prize and recognition plaque.
Co-founder of COPUS, Judy Scotchmoor of the University of California Museum of Paleontology said, “The Paul Shin award is very special to us at COPUS. In the short time that we knew Paul, we were captivated by his energy and determination to make a difference in the world. Bill Gomez has a similar dedication and passion for the public understanding of science and is a most worthy recipient of this award.”