Gaston College Biology Instructor Cliff Grimsley Recognized for Excellence in STEM Education

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – The North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMT) Center is pleased to announce Cliff Grimsley as the recipient of the SMT Center’s Education Award. These awards are presented to individuals and institutions contributing to the excellence of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education across North Carolina.

Cliff Grimsley is a veteran biology instructor at Gaston College in Dallas, N.C. Mr. Grimsley also volunteers for the regional science fair to encourage elementary, middle and high school students to participate in STEM research. He has also been a key player in Gaston College’s curriculum initiatives.

“Cliff challenges his students to grow in their critical thinking skills and provides them with opportunities to participate in unique and exciting research experiences,” wrote Melissa Armstrong, the department chair at Gaston College. “He understands that education is an evolving process and he challenges his students to become lifelong learners.”

Mr. Grimsley is also active in Gaston College’s SPARC initiative, which seeks to recruit, engage, and retain students in STEM disciplines through inquiry-based instruction, undergraduate research, and out-of-class student support services. He has served as a mentor and supervised many undergraduate research projects.

“He’s able to make that connection between the faculty and the students, which lead them to trust him. Not just to learn the material, but to ask him questions about perhaps their futures and sometimes he has to have those very hard conversations,” said SPARC Director Ashley Hager.

“I am not an instructor to sit at the front of the classroom and say ‘Here’s the lab, turn it into me in 3 hours,'” said Mr. Grimsley. “I am there with the students. I look over their shoulder when they look in the microscope. I am there whenever they need me for any aspect of the lab.”