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Dr. Kathleen Kennedy Norris

BCCC Life Sciences Institute (LSI) Director

Association of Community College Trustees Northeast Region Faculty Award 2012

Coordinator of the BCCC Biotechnology Program

Dr. Norris is an inspiring force to her students as she seeks to transform learners into doers. In Dr. Norris’s classrooms, students master laboratory skills in biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics while discovering the fundamentals of DNA through molecular cloning and analysis. Working under the watchful eye of one of the nation’s most experienced bioscience educators, they uncover the possible determinants of disease, as well as its deterrents. In many respects Dr. Norris was the driving force behind the creation of the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), which partners BCCC, the University of Maryland, and some of the world’s leading bioscience firms who are also located at the BioPark. BCCC students learn in close proximity to top-notch university and private industry researchers, an unprecedented cross-pollination of academic and ‘real-world’ work experience. As a result of Dr. Norris’s efforts, 58 students have been placed in paid internships and 32 in full-time STEM-related jobs over the last two years. Dr. Norris is no stranger to national recognition. She presented the LSI at the 2010 Bellwether Awards of the Community College Futures Assembly – the prestigious venue which recognizes “outstanding and innovative programs and practices that are successfully leading community colleges into the future.” Dr. Norris is also the recipient of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Excellence Award. Dr. Norris is a great teacher and pioneer who puts students first,” – Dr. Carolane Williams, BCCC president. LSI is the perfect way to address the longstanding underrepresentation of minority students in STEM as well as get people moving toward college and graduation completion. It’s spectacular what we can achieve when an open access public community college enters the mix of a 21st-century workforce training partnership such as this. And Dr. Norris is fielding requests from institutions across the country who want to copy it.