President's Newsletter

2021 Fall Newsletter

2021 Fall Newsletter Dear TSS members and friends, Just when we thought we were turning the corner with this pandemic last summer, TSS found itself canceling and postponing events we had hoped to offer our community this fall. We shut down again and have tried to wait it out. As social events are becoming more common and better attended, we are rescheduling some long awaited field trips and activities. TSS looks with renewed hope and enthusiasm to community events starting with the announcement of our 2020 and 2021 Gold Medal awards. You may remember that we made the difficult decision to forgo our annual Gold Medal Award in 2020 due to the ongoing threat from COVID-19. (If you are not familiar with the The Gold Medal Award, please take a look at its history on our website: With the announcement of the 2020 and 2021 Gold Medal Awardees, TSS pays tribute to one of our founding goals of enhancing science education at all levels. We are delighted to announce these Gold Medal winners: 2020 Award to Dr. Susan Blessing, Professor, Department of Physics at Florida State University 2021 Award to Mr. Carlos Villa, Center for Integrating Research & Learning at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. The 2021 Gold Medal is awarded to Dr. Susan Blessing, Professor, Department of Physics at Florida State University. Dr. Blessing’s current research interests include the search for new phenomena in proton-antiproton collisions and electroweak physics. However, her passions have been in undergraduate education in physics and support of women in underrepresented physical sciences. Blessing was elected an American Physical Society fellow as an advocate for physics education. Additional accolades include establishing the FSU Office of National Fellowships; she also serves as director of Women in Math, Science and Engineering, (WIMSE). The 2021 Gold Medal is awarded to Mr. Carlos Villa, K-12 Education Outreach Coordinator, Center for Integrating Research & Learning at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Selection of Carlos Villa created an opportunity to honor one of the most recognized science educators in our community. His work with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) has touched the lives of almost every child in Leon and surrounding counties. His science communication efforts are valued on a national stage, receiving the 2018 Distinguished Informal Science Educator Award; he reaches audiences across the globe through science communication videos along with guest starring roles in podcasts like NPR’s Short Wave. These sites reach millions of people. These two Gold Medal winners represent the best in science education and outreach from K-12 through college levels. The Tallahassee community is lucky to have them! In case you have missed some of TSS events and initiatives, please review our 2019 and 2020 Annual Reports for a detailed view. A few highlights you may have missed: Our new website allowed us to post recorded videos from each of the speakers in the spring Horizons series which TSS hosted virtually via zoom. Take a look! In lieu of our traditional face-to-face field trips, TSS began a virtual series titled “Learn and Explore,” which were also recorded and can be accessed through the TSS website or YouTube. In community outreach, TSS continued its sponsorship of the Florida History Fair Science Heritage Award. This year, Joseph Pinto of Clermont, FL, received the award for his poster, “Come in, Houston: The Creation of Satellite Communication to and from Spacecrafts (SID). ”Joe is shown here with his science teacher, Steve Lebron. TSS Board Member Dr. Adrienne Stephenson presented the keynote address at a virtual kick-off event February 11th for the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System celebration of the NEA Big Read – Leon County with the autobiography, Lab Girl, by acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren. TSS President Dr. Kerry Maddox facilitated two of the LCLS virtual book clubs. This summer TSS tested a grant request system with organizations that offered summer science camps. Three programs were given small grants through this new system to help provide scholarships to students in need. We will share the outcomes of the camps when available. Looking toward the next year, TSS is hopeful that we can again have face-to-face events and thus is planning for the spring Horizon series, field trips, and the Gold Medal Award public lecture and reception. We appreciate all of our TSS members as this is our primary funding mechanism. If you are not a member or have let your membership lapse, please consider joining or renewing by visiting (You will receive a reminder to renew membership.) Let’s continue working together to help make Tallahassee a “Science City!” We need you! Thank you, TSS Board of Directors Best regards, Your Board of Directors Kerry Maddox, Pres. Christopher Harvey, Vice Pres. Carol Zimmerman, Treasurer Amelia Maddox, Secretary Barry Boerner Martin Bremer Mabry Gaboardi Calhoun Shannon Gooden Davidson Wallace Knight Demetrius Rice Adrienne Stephenson Susan Vinson