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Edelson to Present the Inaugural Waterbury Lecture

The College of Education's inaugural Waterbury Lecture will be presented by Daniel C. Edelson, vice president for Education and Children's Programs at the National Geographic Society, on February 4.

by Pamela Batson (January 2009)

edelson.jpgThe College of Education is pleased to welcome Dr. Daniel C. Edelson as guest speaker for the inaugural Waterbury Lecture. His lecture titled “Building a Geographically Literate Society: A Case Study of an Ongoing National Educational Reform Initiative” will be held on February 4, 2009, at 5:00 p.m. in 112 Walker Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The event is open to the public and light refreshments will be served after the lecture.


Edelson is vice president for Education and Children's Programs at the National Geographic Society, where he also serves as the executive director of the National Geographic Education Foundation. In these positions he leads the National Geographic Society's efforts to improve public understanding of geography through both formal and informal education programs.


He has conducted educational research and development focusing on environmental science and geography as well as authored middle school and high school textbooks in the earth and environmental sciences and on geographic information systems (GIS) tools for use in schools.


“We are honored to have a speaker of Dr. Edelson’s caliber deliver the first lecture. He bridges the worlds of education, learning science, and earth systems science that are relevant in classrooms today,” said Dr. Richard A. Duschl, Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education. “I want to leverage the relationships at Penn State with external relationships to bring people together in a way that we can build new initiatives and programs in STEM education.”


Edelson has written extensively on motivation, classroom teaching and learning, educational technology and teacher professional development, drawing on research conducted with colleagues and students.

Prior to joining National Geographic, Edelson was a faculty member in education and computer science at Northwestern University for 13 years. He received his Ph.D. in computer science (artificial intelligence) from Northwestern University and his B.S. in engineering sciences from Yale University. His full bio can be found on


The Waterbury Lecture will be held twice a semester featuring prominent speakers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.  The next lecture will be on April 30, by Dr. John Rudolph, historian and science educator at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Contact Sue Stewart at 814-863-8924 for more information about the Waterbury Lecture series.


The Waterbury Lecture is sponsored by an endowment from Kenneth Waterbury to the Penn State College of Education to create the Kenneth B. Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education, which is held by Dr. Richard A. Duschl. His research focuses on advancing teacher education programs and on the design of learning environments that seek and promote collaborations among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.