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Andrew Greenberg
March 15, 2023

Andrew Greenberg wins Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Public Science Engagement Award

Written By: Natasha Kassulke


Andrew Greenberg, a distinguished faculty associate in chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is one of two inaugural recipients of the Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Public Science Engagement Award.

The award recognizes UW–Madison faculty and academic staff members (one awarded in each category) who have shown excellence in engaging the public in their work in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) research.

The new award is named for Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, emeritus professor of chemistry and the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea, in honor of his “Science is Fun” philosophy and long-term commitment to science education and public engagement.

“I join in offering my congratulations,” says Shakhashiri, who retired in 2021. “The hallmarks of UW–Madison are scholarly research, classroom teaching and public engagement. Our discoveries help satisfy curiosity. We nourish personal growth and development. We cultivate creativity. We foster community appreciation of science. We work to advance knowledge and to serve society.”

Greenberg previously served as the associate director of the Institute for Chemical Education (ICE) from 2010 – 2021. In that role, he co-directed the education and outreach efforts of the UW–Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center and helped lead the outreach efforts of ICE.

He designed and currently teaches “Chemical Engineering in the Community,” an outreach-focused course to help undergraduate and graduate students learn to communicate STEM research being conducted in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He is the education and outreach leader for the DOE-funded Center for the Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics and leads the education and outreach efforts for multiple NSF projects. He also serves as the education and outreach advisory board member for the NSF National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), a national consortium of 16 university nanotechnology cleanroom facilities.

“It is an honor to be selected as a recipient of the Bassam Shakhashiri Public Engagement in Science Award,” Greenberg says. “UW–Madison is at the epicenter of STEAM engagement. Faculty and staff at UW-Madison believe in the Wisconsin Idea and the importance of sharing the university and its work beyond campus boundaries. Professor Shakhashiri is the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea and a long-time advocate for faculty and staff to engage our communities and share our passions for STEAM. Through his efforts and the efforts of other faculty and staff at UW–Madison, there is a community of scientists and engineers who believe that their work does not stop in the laboratory and it extends to engaging the public in the work of the University.”

Greenberg stresses that public engagement with STEAM is not just about sharing work being done by scientists and engineers at UW–Madison; it helps to inspire future STEAM students to pursue STEAM career opportunities.

“I have spent 20 years participating in science and engineering public engagement and never tire of seeing the excitement of K-12 students and the public when hearing about the great work of UW-Madison STEAM researchers,” Greenberg says. “I am truly fortunate to work at an institution that not only supports public engagement with science but celebrates individuals who are passionate about the importance of this work.”

Zuzana Buřivalová, an assistant professor affiliated with the department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) is the faculty recipient of the Shakhashiri award.

The award is supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Morgridge Institute for Research and UW–Madison’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

A version of this press release was previously published by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.