Clary selected for top state teaching honor

Renée M. Clary

Efforts and achievements of a very busy Mississippi State faculty member are being recognized by the Mississippi Academy of Sciences.

Renée M. Clary, an associate professor of geology at the university, is the Jackson-based academy’s 2016 Science Teacher of the Year.

Director of the geosciences department’s Dunn-Seiler Geology Museum, she formally accepted the honor last Thursday [Feb. 18] during MAS’s 80th annual meeting in Hattiesburg.

Dedicated to advancing the roles of science and technology within the Magnolia State and beyond, the academy works to promote collaborations among its scientist, educator, professional and student memberships. For more, visit

An MSU faculty member since 2006, Clary also directs the EarthScholars Research Group that she co-founded in 2002 with the late Jim Wandersee, a botanist and Louisiana State University biology education professor. The organization they created works to enhance the formal and informal integration of geological and biological knowledge in science instruction. For more, visit

Additionally, the LSU doctoral graduate leads the 15° Laboratory, an affiliated EarthScholars research group that Wandersee had established in 1996 to help K-12 and higher education students better understand and appreciate the big ideas of contemporary life sciences. The lab later expanded its mission to helping improve the general public’s understanding of science.

Beyond geoscience education, the New Iberia, Louisiana, native’s research interests include the history and philosophy of geology, optimization of visualization techniques, Cretaceous paleobiology and environmental geochemistry.

With more than 50 journal articles, 16 book chapters and 190 peer-reviewed presentations, the findings of her scientific investigations have been disseminated through professional and educational forums on five continents.

Clary holds a bachelor’s in chemistry, a master’s in geology and a second master’s in curriculum and instruction/science education, all from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her LSU doctorate was completed in curriculum and instruction/geoscience education.

In expressing appreciation for her nomination and selection, Clary said the MAS award represents a major achievement for her geoscience education goals in Mississippi.

She gave special thanks to MSU, the College of Arts and Sciences and geosciences department of which it is part for “all strongly supporting our faculty’s educational endeavors,” adding that “Mississippi State is making a difference in science education, and I am proud to be part of this university and these efforts.”

Located in Hilbun Hall, the geosciences department offers courses and expertise in several areas of the earth sciences, including climatology, geocognition, geography, geology, geospatial analysis and meteorology. Also in Hilbun, the Dunn-Seiler Museum features mineral and rock collections, meteorites and extensive fossil displays from throughout Mississippi and the Southeast.

For more on the department and museum, visit,, or telephone 662-325-3915.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs

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