University of Wisconsin alumnus Edward Mueller ’59, found the perfect formula for a successful career in science education — a passion for learning mixed with an affinity for teaching middle-school students.
“Mr. Mueller possesses the curiosity and love of science that characterizes a middle-school-aged student,” said Susannah Sandrin, former UW Science Outreach director. “He loves the craft of science and questions everything. After just a few minutes of watching one of his chemistry demonstrations, it’s apparent he has every student in the room engaged in his show.”
Mueller, of Neenah, will be honored with a UW Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award during Homecoming weekend Oct. 16-17. Nine alumni from across the nation will receive awards from the UWO Alumni Association at the event.
Since his graduation from UW Oshkosh with a bachelor’s degree in education, Mueller has had an award-winning career as a math and science teacher. He is the only teacher ever to have been selected twice as the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year (1967 and 1984). He also was the first teacher in Wisconsin to receive the Presidential Award in Math and Science Teaching.
“He has been deeply involved in curricular development statewide and has been instrumental in setting science education standards for our state,” said College of Letters and Science Dean John Koker. “Ed has worked tirelessly for our youth in his roles as teacher, innovator and advocate, truly making quality education his lifelong commitment.”
For 40 years, Mueller taught science to middle school students in Neenah. He served as the executive director of the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers for more than 20 years, a position he still holds today. He co-founded, directed and taught at the successful Science World Program from 1983 to 1990.
Beginning in 1974, Mueller taught summer professional development courses for teachers at UW Oshkosh. He also has been a long-time instructor with Science Outreach, a program that makes science education accessible and exciting for students, teachers and the community.
In 1984, he started the Wisconsin Science Olympiad through the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers. “I’m proud to have brought the Olympiad to Wisconsin for the first time and to have been a judge for the event for 25 years,” he said.
For Mueller, teaching always has been more a way of life than a profession.
“I’ve never gone to work a day in my life,” he said. “I always have gone to school. Teaching is one of the joys in my life. It is just great to work with kids and science.”
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