GLEN ELLYN, Ill. -- College of DuPage Physics Professor Dr. Jennifer Gimmell recently was named "Most Influential Teacher" by U.S. Presidential Scholar Joseph A. Popelka of Benet Academy in Lisle.
"I'm both excited and humbled to receive this recognition," Gimmell said. "Out of approximately 3,900 students invited, only 141 were awarded the Presidential Scholarship. It's quite an honor to be recognized by such a brilliant and accomplished student."
Gimmell said the secrets to her teaching success lie in her passion for the subject and through her encouragement of a proactive approach in the classroom.
"I try to make each lesson a story. I want to bring each lesson to life and have my students associate emotions with the topics they're learning about," she said.
Gimmell said that she aims to prepare her high school students for college, not just in terms of academics, but also in terms of responsibility.
"I put students in charge of their learning and encourage them to 'own' their education," she said. "I may lead the discussion but the goal is for the students and me to function together as a unit. If I can have them leave my class with just an inkling of personal responsibility and a sense of ownership over their education, then that is awesome."
Gimmell received a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics from Hiram College in Ohio and earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Rochester in New York. She has conducted research at the University of Chicago and Princeton and spent six years working in experimental high-energy particle physics at Fermilab. Gimmell has taught physics, computer science and a hybrid class combining physics and chemistry at Loyola Academy and currently carries a full load as an adjunct physics professor at COD and as an instructor of AP Physics, College Preparatory Physics and Honors Physics for Benet Academy.
Recently, she also received an Innovation Award from the College's IDEA Center for an innovative "flipped class" teaching method she employed in her introductory physics class. Using this approach, students view brief videotaped lectures before attending class and then spend the time in the classroom actively working on lesson assignments.
SOURCE College of DuPage