Valarie Akerson has received the NARST 2021 Distinguished Contributions to Science Education through Research Award. This is the highest award that NARST, a global organization for improving science education through research, bestows upon its members.
Akerson said she was amazed, happy, and very honored when she found out she won the award, considered one of the highest honors in science education that recognizes important research trajectories over time.
“I remember as a doctoral student being so impressed by researchers who had received this award and dreamed one day of having a career that would lead me on such a path. It is now a dream come true,” Akerson added.
Akerson has pioneered research and practice that explore the nature of science and scientific inquiry with students and teachers in elementary school and teacher education contexts, disseminating her scholarship through a wide spectrum of research and practitioner journals and books. She is currently working on an international comparative study of third- and fourth-graders’ conceptions of scientific inquiry, having completed surveys and interviews of over 150 Indiana students around the state prior to the pandemic. She is also working on a self study exploring converting methods courses partially online due to COVID-19 changes, as well as a book chapter for the Handbook of Research on Elementary Science Teaching.