Memorial chemistry teacher honored for excellence at her alma mater

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Teacher Judith Ashworth, left, and Steve Lantos, Chair of the Theodore William Richards Award committee
Teacher Judith Ashworth, left, and Steve Lantos, Chair of the Theodore William Richards Award committee

MANCHESTER, NH – Judith Ashworth, chemistry teacher and alumnus of  Memorial High School, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Theodore William Richards Award for Excellence in Teaching Secondary School Chemistry. The award was presented at the 961st meeting of the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society (NESACS) “Education Awards Night,” held at A123 Systems LLC in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 12.

Ashworth was recognized as a teacher who, through innovation and dedication, has inspired potential chemists, has communicated chemistry to non-chemists, or has influenced other teachers of chemistry. According to the award description, the criteria for excellence correspond broadly to the effectiveness with which the teacher conveys the principles of chemistry to students and to the influence that the teacher has had on students and on other teachers.

Colleagues, former students, and Memorial High School principal Arthur Adamakos are among those who nominated Ashworth for the honor and say her skill for making students think and act like pure scientists have influenced many to continue on in medical and scientific careers.

“Even students not continuing in chemistry or the physical sciences know they’ve learned analytical skills useful to them in any discipline, all influenced by this amazing teacher,” stated one letter in support of Ashworth. “She challenges all of her students and builds their confidence by getting each one to find their potential to learn well. Sincere, genuine, (and) a fierce advocate for her students, Ms. Judith Ashworth exemplifies the best in teaching.”

Ashworth is completing her 27th year of teaching in the Manchester School District, her seventh at Memorial. She’s happy to be teaching at her alma mater, where she grew up across the street!

“Judy is a well-respected teacher among the faculty who successfully reaches students with a variety of learning styles,” said Adamakos.

Ashworth works to be a positive role model for female students, to help them develop confidence for success in the perceived male-dominated field of chemistry and other sciences.

“Chemistry provides students an opportunity to explore their strengths and weaknesses in a ‘hands-on’ and ‘minds-on’ environment,” said Ashworth. “A student who feels empowered has the ability to accomplish anything because she/he understands she/he has the potential to do it.”

As part of her award, Ashworth also received a $1,500 prize.

NESACS was founded in 1898 for the advancement of chemistry and chemical engineering while promoting research in the physical sciences and industry with over 6000 professional chemists and educators as members.

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About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!