STEM education award named in honor of COE Professor and Goizueta Distinguished Chair
This spring, Georgia Southern University’s Alejandro Gallard, Ph.D., was presented with the inaugural Alejandro José Gallard Martinez Outstanding Contributions to STEM Education Disruptor Award during the 5th Annual STEM Education Conference hosted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
The award is named for Gallard to honor his outstanding contributions to STEM education in scholarship, mentoring, furthering equity and social justice, and increasing the representation of diverse individuals in STEM education. The award will be given annually in Gallard’s honor to a deserving member of the education community.
Angela Chapman, Ph.D., founding chair of the STEM Education Conference and Consortium, explained the committee’s decision to create and honor Gallard with the “Disruptor Award.”
“Dr. Gallard is known for asking questions that challenge the status quo of research and the void created by hiding the influences of the sociocultural context within which all research takes place,” she said. “Dr. Gallard always wants to know what is not being told in any form of research. This is what he calls ‘radical doubt,’ which is part of the theoretical model he and his colleagues developed to unearth the sociocultural factors that continuously mitigate each and every data point.”
“Dr. Gallard works very quietly in the background helping the disenfranchised within the boundaries of the academy,” Chapman added. “When we created this award in his name, it was not to underscore the existence of a rebel, but to acknowledge his efforts to thwart the hegemony of cultural capital as determined by the status quo, as well as his non-tolerance of inequity, social injustice, and the status quo’s institutional mechanisms to keep those who are down, down.”
Gallard joined the University in 2012 and serves as a professor of science education in the Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education as well as the Goizueta Distinguished Chair in the College of Education (COE). He co-leads the Scholarship Development Program in the College to assist early-career faculty develop a successful scholarship agenda.
“I had no idea that I was to receive an award or even that one would be established in my name,” said Gallard. “I was shocked. My first reaction was, ‘why me?’ This reaction has stayed with me even though I have been assured I have earned it.”
During Gallard’s acceptance speech, he echoed this humility. “The problem that has been created in being the first recipient of an award in my name is that I now need to reflect more profoundly on how much more I need to give to others,” he said. “This is a wonderful renewal of my life.”
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