Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education


The Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education recognizes individuals or groups who have had significant, sustained impact on genetics education at any level, from K-12 through graduate school and beyond. Recipients of this award will have promoted greater exposure to and deeper understanding of genetics through distinguished teaching or mentoring; development of innovative pedagogical approaches or tools; design of new courses or curricula; national leadership; and/or public engagement and outreach. Recipients need not be GSA members.

The award was named posthumously for Elizabeth W. Jones (1939–2008), who was the recipient of the first GSA Excellence in Education Award in 2007. She was a renowned geneticist and educator who served as the 1987 GSA president and as editor-in-chief of GSA’s journal GENETICS for nearly 12 years (1996-2008). Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and the first PhD in genetics granted by the University of Washington. She completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University for five years before joining Carnegie Mellon in 1974.

At the time of her death, Jones was University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, the institution’s highest faculty honor. She also served as head of the Department of Biological Sciences and Dr. Frederick A. Schwertz Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences. Her lab used genetic approaches to understand how proteins in yeast cells reach their proper destinations.

Nomination Process and Instructions

Full instructions on how to nominate for a GSA Award are available here.

Briefly, a nomination packet includes 

  • Nominee name and contact information
  • Nominator name and contact information (if different from the nominee)
  • Cover Letter (250 words or fewer)
  • NIH-style biosketch (≤5 pages)
  • Lived-experience statement (250 words or fewer)
  • Selection questionnaire (see below)
  • Demographic survey (optional)


To be considered for the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education, the nominee(s) need not be GSA member(s). However, nominees who are members of GSA will be given priority in the selection process. Individuals and teams can be nominated. There is no limit on the number of team members.

Selection Questionnaire

  • Describe the nominee’s key contribution(s) to genetics education, including the level of learner targeted (K–12, college, graduate school, etc.). (100 words or fewer)
  • Provide the approximate number and type of learners and the duration of the educational event(s) involved in the nominee’s key contribution. (E.g., 50 high-school educators; one 2-week, full-time event; held annually)
  • How has the nominee’s contribution to genetics education led to deeper engagement with the community? (100 words or fewer)
  • If nominating more than one individual, describe the synergy between the nominees that helped to generate the unique education climate. (100 words or fewer)
  • Was the nominee involved in generating and deploying new curriculum? If so, describe the type of curriculum, the level of learner targeted, and the ways it has been disseminated. (100 words or fewer)

Important Dates

Nominations are due September 5, 2023.

Past Recipients

2023 No award given
2022 Alana O’Reilly and Dara Ruiz-Whalen, Fox Chase Cancer Center and eCLOSE Institute
2021 Edward J. Smith, Virginia Tech
2020 Seth Bordenstein, Vanderbilt University
2019 Bruce Weir, University of Washington in Seattle
2018 Steven Farber, Carnegie Institution for Science
Jamie Shuda, University of Pennsylvania
2017 Sally G. Hoskins, City College of the City University of New York
2016 William Wood, University of Colorado
2015 Louisa A. Stark, University of Utah
2014 Robin Wright, University of Minnesota
2013 A. Malcolm Campbell, Davidson College
2012 David A. Micklos, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2011 Peter J. Bruns, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (retired)
2010 Utpal Banerjee, University of California, Los Angeles
2009 Sarah C. R. Elgin, Washington University in St. Louis and HHMI
2008 R. Scott Hawley, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
2007 Elizabeth W. Jones, Carnegie Mellon University