Latourelle earns national award

PLATTSBURGH - A State University of New York at Plattsburgh faculty member has won national acclaim for her work in biology education.

Sandra Latourelle, an adjunct lecturer in biological sciences, recently received a teaching award from the National Association of Biology Teachers. The award honors a four-year college or university faculty member who demonstrates creativity and innovation in his or her teaching.

"I can't think of a more deserving person for this award than Sandy. She loves teaching science and has dedicated her life to it. She still gets excited when she has reached a student," said Dr. Nancy Elwess, a SUNY Plattsburgh professor of biological sciences. "Since joining the biology department, she has been a wonderful mentor and role model for me. I have learned so much from her lifelong experiences."

Latourelle has been an educator for more than four decades and has been teaching in SUNY Plattsburgh's biological sciences department since 1996. She also holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the college.

This isn't the first time Latourelle has been recognized for her work. She, along with Elwess, was named the association's 2007 Technology Teacher of the Year and received the 2007 Frederica Hollister Professional Educator's Award from the New York State chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional honorary society of women educators.

Dr. Kathleen Lavoie, a biology professor and the college's dean of arts and sciences, said Latourelle addresses the diverse learning styles among her students.

"She gives all of her students a chance to be heard through the lessons she offers them as well as providing them with authentic assessment on their assignments," Lavoie said. "She tries to incorporate lesson plans and activities that address students who have visual, verbal, tactile, kinesthetic and/or auditory learning styles."

Latourelle said after 40 years of teaching, it's exciting to know she can still make a difference.

"I am very humbled by this experience and truly delighted to be receiving the award," she said.

SUNY Plattsburgh's intimate setting, added Latourelle, gives biology educators the time and the dedication to help students become all they can be.

"It allows students to grow, mature and feel competent to go beyond a four-year program into graduate school for research or health-related professions," she said.

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