The 2016 Annual AMTA Awards

Three new awards and their winners were announced at the 2016 AMTA retreat at Fermi National Accelerator Lab. The nominations for the inaugural awards were selected by the AMTA board. For future accolades, the membership will be asked to nominate candidates annually for the three categories: exceptional contribution, notable service and leadership for the organization.

David Hestenes Inaugural Award for Exceptional Contributions to Modeling Instruction™

Exceptional Contributions

David Hestenes, widely regarded as the father of Modeling Instruction, began developing his Modeling Theory of science and cognition and writing about models and modeling as a framework for the design of teaching and learning science in 1979. He guided Malcolm Wells in his development of the Modeling Method and obtained 16 years of NSF support for its development and dissemination nationwide. To assess the effectiveness of modeling Instruction, Hestenes and his students developed the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) which is now the most widely-used physics concept inventory in the world. His efforts inspired the formation of AMTA by a group of Modeling teachers at the expiration of NSF funding.

We are pleased to acknowledge David’s exceptional contributions to advance the understanding of student thinking and learning and practice of science teaching with the David Hestenes Award for Exceptional Contributions to Modeling Instruction.

photo of trophy for Larry DukerichThe 2016 Award is given to

  • Larry Dukerich, AZ

Jane Jackson Inaugural Award for Notable Service to Modeling Instruction

Notable Service

Dr. Jane Jackson left Scottsdale Community College (Scottsdale, AZ) in 1994 to join Dr. David Hestenes as the Co-Director of the Modeling Instruction Program at Arizona State University. In addition to the myriad administrative tasks she was responsible for, Jane sought to build relationships with and connections between the many constituencies within the Modeling community. Dr. Jackson continues to be a vital member of Modeling Instruction, providing Listserv management, workshop scheduling support, grant applications, etc.

AMTA is pleased to acknowledge Jane’s decades of service to the Modeling community with the Jane Jackson Award for Notable Service to Modeling Instruction.

The 2016 Award is given to two:

  • Jack Romanowicz, CA
  • Mitch Johnson, NV

Malcolm Wells Inaugural Award for Leadership in Modeling Instruction


Dissatisfied with his students’ performance on the precursor to the Force Concept Inventory, Malcolm Wells took the initiative to change his method of teaching. Combining ideas from David Hestenes’ modeling theory of instruction and Karplus’ learning cycle, Malcolm developed the modeling cycle. He applied these theories to practice in his physics classroom and found proof of their efficacy in improved student performance on conceptual assessments.  Malcolm shared his Modeling Method of Instruction with his colleagues through his leadership of NSF-funded workshops.

To honor its namesake, the Malcolm Wells Leadership Award is awarded to those members of AMTA who by their example and their contributions pave the way for others to innovate and/or improve Modeling Instruction.

The 2016 Award is given to

  • Michael Crofton, MN

Retiring AMTA’s first executive officer

2016 Rex Rice giving recognition to Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz In May of 2011, Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz committed to serve AMTA as its first Executive Officer for five years. Colleen worked without compensation until the organization could afford to pay her something, and then took half-time compensation, all the while working more than full time. She assumed responsibility for expanding the national network of Modeling Workshops; meeting the Modeling teacher community’s needs; overseeing the continued refinement of Modeling Curriculum resources; and ensuring AMTA’s fiscal health and long-term sustainability. Over the past five years, AMTA’s membership has grown by a factor of 10 and it is now fiscally healthy. It now has a wide network of partners hosting workshops and it offers expanded workshops and curriculum resources. The AMTA has also supported the creation of several local STEM teacher communities across the country. Dr. Megowan-Romanowicz’s vision and energy have transformed the organization and positively impacted countless lives in the process. Well-done Colleen and thank you!

Colleen handed over the “executive briefcase” to Jeff Hengesbach, whom she helps to transition into the position of xo. Colleen will remain a big player in the organization, now as Senior Fellow (self-chosen title).

Trophy design by David Weaver

David with one of the trophiesThe trophies and accompanying white boards have been designed and created by AMTA Board President David Weaver who spent numerous weekend at CREATE!: the create space of the Arizona Science Center. Thank you so much for your time and effort; the trophies and whiteboards are amazing!

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