Patricia Bricker, assistant professor of elementary and middle grades education, has received the 2008 Jo Duckett Wallace Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service in Science Education at the Elementary Level, an award given by the North Carolina Science Teachers Association. Bricker’s research interests range from integrating science and literacy to teacher professional development. She is currently the principal investigator for “Project 2020: Preparing Future Ready Students for a Global Society,” an initiative funded by more than $400,000 in grants originating from the U.S. Department of Education Improving Teacher Quality program and awarded through the University of North Carolina General Administration. The initiative, a joint effort of WCU, Asheville City Schools and Yancey County Schools, entails sustained professional development in inquiry-based science and integrated curriculum for teachers of third through eighth grade. She also recently served as chair of the National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council joint review panel for outstanding science trade books. Bricker, a resident of Waynesville, joined the WCU faculty in 2001. She holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resources from Cornell University, a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum from the University of Rochester, and a doctorate in teacher education from the University of Tennessee. The mission of WCU’s elementary and middle grades education department is to promote excellence in teaching and caring from kindergarten through young adolescents. The department philosophy is based on a holistic perspective that children are more than just future employees, and their abilities and intelligence are more complex than a set of scores on standardized tests. For more information about the elementary and middle grades education department, check out http://emge.wcu.edu or call (828) 227-7108.