John Kaup, director of science education at Furman University, has received the 2018 South Carolina Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Awareness.
The prestigious award, given jointly by the Office of the Governor and South Carolina Academy of Sciences, recognizes Kaup’s outstanding achievements as a contributor to STEM education and outreach over the past two decades. He received the award during an April 11 ceremony hosted at the South Carolina Statehouse by Gov. Henry McMaster.
Kaup was one of four “Excellence in Science” award recipients “whose achievements and contributions to science in South Carolina merit special recognition.” While this is the fifth Excellence in Science Award presented to a Furman faculty or staff member since 1989, it’s the first time the university has received an award in the category of Scientific Awareness.
“John truly serves as an exemplar of the kinds of educational impacts colleges can create within their local communities if they commit to engaging in science outreach,” said John Wheeler, Furman associate provost for integrative science and director of the office of integrative research in the sciences (OIRS). “His statewide leadership within the K-12 sector and his creative efforts to develop unique educational opportunities for high school teachers and students on the campuses of South Carolina’s institutions of higher learning have been remarkable.”
During the past 21 years working at both Clemson University and Furman, Kaup has been a champion of communicating science to the public through a broad array of local and state activities. His list of achievements includes statewide leadership through presidential succession within the South Carolina Academy of Sciences (2013-2016) and having served as executive director of the Junior Academy of Sciences since 2014. He is also undergraduate program chair for regional and national American Chemical Society meetings, as well as coordinator for STEM Outreach for the South Carolina EPSCoR/IDeA State Office.
In addition to developing dozens of summer research experiences for middle and high school science teachers on South Carolina’s college and university campuses, Kaup has developed an array of science initiatives engaging Furman faculty and students. That includes Furman’s award-winning STEM Mentors initiative, which has impacted hundreds of underserved middle school students, and providing intensive summer science camps and research experiences for students enrolled in Furman’s Bridges to a Brighter Future and the South Carolina’s Governor’s School for Science & Math.
“Furman celebrates with John in this well-deserved recognition,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost George Shields. “We are thankful to the Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Academy of Sciences for providing this outstanding mechanism to identify individuals who are creating transformative results in South Carolina’s STEM educational outcomes and increased appreciation for our state’s scientific excellence. Dr. Kaup’s efforts underscore Furman’s commitment to community engagement for our own students and faculty, while providing opportunities to positively impact the K-12 sector and public at large.”
Kaup is a graduate of Xavier University and received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Utah. He came to Furman in 2010 as the university’s inaugural Coordinator of Science Education.
He serves as a board member for the Innovision Technology Awards Program and the Public Education Partners of Greenville County. His current position at Furman is housed within OIRS, which has generated more than $7 million in competitive external funding since 2010, with primary emphasis on supporting student scholarships, undergraduate research and outreach to the STEM K-12 educational sector.
For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107.