Guilford honors science teacher for hall of fame award

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 7:42 PM EST
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

GUILFORD — The Board of Education recognized Ruth Heckman, a biology teacher at Guilford High School, Monday night for being honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame this year.

The Hall of Fame honored Heckman as one of two dozen outstanding “women in science.”

Board of Education Chairman William Bloss presented Heckman with a certificate of recogntion at the board’s regular meeting. She has already received an award from the Hall of Fame.

This year, the group is recognizing 20 women across the state for their contributions to “a new century of women in science.” It will also induct four female scientists.

Heckman, who has been teaching for 33 years, is one of two high school science teachers receiving the honor. She was chosen for the award because of her teaching achievements and efforts to encourage young women in the sciences, according to the Hall of Fame.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Forcella said that Heckman has inspired many of her students to pursue scientific careers.

“Her guidance and influence not only impacted learning in the classroom, but have provided opportunities that raise awareness of career paths for women in science,” Forcella said.

Bloss described Heckman as an outstanding teacher.

“This is truly an honor and we are privileged to have you teach our young people,” he said. “We are pleased that you are giving young women and young men, for that matter, direction in science.”

The Hall of Fame held a gala for the honorees in Hartford last week. The four women inducted were Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock, neuroscientist Patricia Goldman-Rakic, Yale University professor Joan Steitz and cell biologist Jewel Plummer Cobb.

Heckman said she found the gala and the other award winners inspiring.

“What they’re doing with their lives serves as such an inspiration to me personally and it really gives a renewed energy and a renewed understanding to try to inspire young women … to go into science and really realize their dreams,” she said.

Bloss joked about the fact that this was the second month in a row in which a Guilford teacher won an award.

Last month, physics teacher Raisa Roginsky won a national award from the U.S. Department of Education. Heckman won the Connecticut Science Teachers Association’s excellence in secondary science teaching award last year.

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