The National Association of Biology Teachers has bestowed Tyler Junior College biology professor Dr. Margaret “Betsy” Ott with its highest honor by naming her its 2016 NABT Honorary Member.
NABT created the honorary membership in 1964 to recognize individuals who have achieved distinction in teaching, research and/or service in the biological sciences. Recipients must be formally endorsed by at least nine members in good standing to qualify. Honorary members become lifetime members of NABT.
She will be formally recognized with the award during the NABT Honors Luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Denver.
Ott has been a professor at TJC since 1982, teaching anatomy and physiology, general biology for non-science majors, and biology for majors.
Her teaching philosophy centers on “mindful mastery,” giving students a sense of control over their own learning while providing a mental map for making connections. One of her primary goals is to equip all students with the habit of looking at evidence and the ability to logically analyze all aspects of any argument, whether based in science or in life at large.
Ott earned her doctoral degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University with a research area of biodiversity in plantation understory.
“As a member of NABT and as a fellow two-year college constituent, I have had the pleasure of working with Betsy Ott and seeing firsthand her commitment to the association, her students and her love of the discipline,” NABT President-Elect Susan Finazzo said.
“She is a cheerleader for NABT, an ideal proponent for biology education, an advocate for excellence in college science teaching, an excellent mentor, and this Honorary Membership is a much-deserved ‘thank you’ for her past and continuing contributions to NABT and to biology education.”
Ott became active in NABT after attending the 1989 Professional Development Conference in San Diego. It was there that she first connected with a contingent of Texas teachers as well as the newly formed Two-Year College Section. She has served on a number of NABT committees, including the 1990 Conference Committee, was a Two-Year Section Chair, served two terms on the NABT Board of Directors as a Director-at-Large, and was the 2004 President of NABT.
After completing her term as president, Ott resumed her committee service on the NABT Awards and Nominating Committees. She also recently completed her term as president of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society.
“I’m overwhelmed at receiving the Honorary Membership,” Ott said. “I’ve known so many NABT members who have done so much for the association; it’s humbling to be chosen. I feel like I represent all active members in accepting the award.”