2021 Grinnell Award - Deedra McClearn

The 2021 recipient of the Joseph Grinnell Award, Dr. Deedra McClearn, is recognized for her impact on graduate and undergraduate students throughout the world. Deedra coordinated and led tropical biology field courses in Costa Rica for the Organization of Tropical Studies (OTS) for over 15 years, developed a semester-long undergraduate program in South Africa, and helped to establish Duke University’s international education program in China. Several letters of support noted Deedra’s dedication to always promoting local communities, one stating she was a fierce “champion of efforts to support and include local students, educators, and researchers into the study abroad programs.”

In addition, Deedra has been a leader in developing assessment tools for academic programs. She has developed workshops helping educators to implement dynamic, active, and inquiry-based learning into courses that continue to influence generations of students.

In “retirement”, Deedra continues to play an active role in scientific and educational programs. One of her current projects is to assemble, evaluate, and archive many of the long-term data sets that are associated with the OTS sites. Deedra is also working with an international team to develop innovative modules for tropical biology courses that will be freely available online for any educators to use.

The many letters of support from Deedra’s former students document her personal dedication to fostering student success. One nominator's letter stated, “She has touched our lives in very powerful ways, setting us up for success as graduate students, continuing as a supportive and instructive mentor when we were post-docs, and maintaining an active role in our lives and now, in the lives of our own students.”

Congratulations to Dr. Deedra McClearn, who is truly one of the world’s leaders in education!

Photo courtesy of Ceci Coen.