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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Sigma Xi honors veterinary professor

 
 

In 1996, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice received the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award. Seven years later Norman Borlaug, billed the father of the Green Revolution, received the award.
This year an A&M professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences department in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences joined the group of award winners.
After being passed over in 2009, Barbara Gastel said she was surprised to be the recipient of the McGovern award.
“Dr. John P. McGovern, who funded the award, was very generous and funded many awards, given by various organizations and institutions. Thus, there are numerous McGovern awards. When I received an e-mail message titled ‘2010 McGovern Award Invitation,’ I thought I was just being invited to a lecture by a recipient of another McGovern award,” Gastel said. “What a wonderful surprise to learn that I’ll be receiving the McGovern Award given by Sigma Xi.”
The recipients of this distinction are chosen by the Society’s Committee on Awards and, in the past, have represented a broad spectrum of people involved with varied science and society activities.
The John P. McGovern Lecture, which is made by the recipient of the annual John P. McGovern Science and Society Medal, has been a highlight of Sigma Xi’s annual meeting since 1984.
“I’m still thinking about what to say in my lecture. Luckily, I still have some time, as the lecture will be in November,” Gastel said. “In the lecture, I hope to emphasize that communicating with the public can be useful and enjoyable, and I might well provide an overview of ways in which scientists can do so.”
The award also carries an endowment of $5,000.
“I hope to use the money to help support the kinds of work the award is recognizing me for,” Gastel said. “It will be wonderful to have these funds available to aid in my teaching of science writing and related subjects at A&M and overseas.”
As the editor of “Science Editor,” the periodical of the Council of Science Editors, and for her work in the American Medical Writers Association, Gastel has received distinguished service awards from these two organizations.
In 2006, the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences named Gastel an Honored Editor in the Life Sciences. In 2007 she became the Knowledge Community Editor for AuthorAID at INASP, a program to help researchers in developing countries to write about and publish their work. Gastel brought her talents to Texas A&M in 1989 after serving as the assistant dean for teaching at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
Gastel specializes in biomedical writing and editing as well as coordinating the master’s degree program in science and technology journalism.
“The master’s degree program in science and technology journalism at Texas A&M University prepares students for careers as writers and editors in science, technology and medicine,” she said.

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