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Professor Adam Johnston of the physics department is being awarded the 2013 Weber State University Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor award, along with two other WSU professors. Johnston has been highly decorated over the last two years, receiving various awards for his efforts in science outreach for the community as well as his teaching methods in his classes.
Physics junior Michael Shaw, a prior student of Johnston’s, said Johnson is a delightful instructor and an incredible educator.
“I believe it is people like Dr. Johnston who truly shape the world of education,” Shaw said. “They bring about higher-quality learning for educational levels. I am grateful for my opportunity to learn from him.”
The presidential award is given to candidates who are acclaimed nationally for professional, academic and civic contributions. Within the last two years, Johnston has received the 2011 Outstanding University Science Educator Award from the Utah Science Teachers Association and the Medal for Science and Technology from the governor of Utah in 2012.
Colin Inglefield, chair of the physics department, said Johnston has contributed greatly to the university and community.
“He has a unique background in both physics and education that ends up as an asset to all of us in designing our courses,” Inglefield said. “He has an excellent track record working with our physics teaching majors to make an impact through programs like the Science in the Parks and our Physics Open House.”
Johnston started teaching at WSU as a professor in 2008. He was an associate professor prior to that and has been affiliated with the university since 1996. He has been receiving awards since 2002 and was nominated for U.S. Professor of the Year in 2011.
“I have always been involved,” Johnston said. “My background besides physics has always been with education. Bit by bit, I have seen myself doing outreach with the community. I stumbled upon the idea for Science in the Parks as I was driving through town. We figured, since children were already there, why not bring science to them? It is now a program in conjunction with the free lunch program for the Ogden School District during the summer.”
Johnston is heavily involved with the science education majors at WSU. He said he holds the educational system near to his heart.
“We determine who we are as individuals based on the education we receive as children,” Johnston said. “I have seen my work with teachers as my most critical mission. I do not see schools as doing anything wrong now, but we can always rethink what we are doing to provide the best education for our children.”
Johnston pointed out that he is surrounded by great physics professors in his department who have been recipients of the Brady awards in the past. He said he is proud of his team members, who are all active within the community and influential in their own ways.
“There are many other people who deserve this award and the same kind of recognition,” Johnston said. “We are always challenging each other, and I see many people within this department and college receiving this award in the future. We work well together, and my success can go hand in hand with the success of my colleagues in the College of Science.”