The resolution made in his honor on May 20, 2015 speaks to his competence, contributions and positioning to continue advancing IMSA through post-retirement activities, “the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy gratefully acknowledges the extraordinary dedication and lasting contributions of Branson D. Lawrence, Jr.; that we appreciate his professionalism, sense of humor, hard work and buoyant Titan spirit; and that we look forward to working with him in new ways in the future.”
Mr. Lawrence’s work as an Illinois educator began in 1980. He taught courses in engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics and education to all ages of students, from elementary school through college. In 1992, he came to IMSA where he was integral in the creation, design, implementation and assessment of innovative programs and interdisciplinary curriculum, such as the Scientific Inquiries and the Perspectives Program. Mr. Lawrence researched and incorporated changes in curriculum to increase female involvement in physics/engineering. Throughout his time at IMSA, Mr. Lawrence has served the Academy with distinction, often going beyond what is expected of a faculty member, changing the lives of many students, as well as mentoring, challenging and supporting colleagues.
Mr. Lawrence has served in multiple leadership capacities and roles, including past President of the Illinois Association of Chemistry Teachers. He was the founding director of the Energy Center at IMSA and also served as science and building operational coordinator. During IMSA’s most recent time of multiple institutional leadership transitions and needs, Mr. Lawrence served in his culminating role of Principal and was revered for “providing a steady hand, addressing countless needs and ensuring forward momentum.”
He has also demonstrated a strong commitment to IMSA’s second legislative charge through his work with IMSA Professional Field Services—summer programs, IMSA on Wheels, and several presentations for Professional Learning Day. His publications include co-authoring a ground-breaking chapter “Engineering Education for High-Ability Students” in The Handbook of Secondary Gifted Education (2015) and “Increasing Interest in Young Women in Engineering” in the NCSSSMST Journal (2014). He is a National Board Certified Teacher in Adolescence and Young Adulthood/Science and the recipient and runner-up of numerous awards: Top Ten Science Educator for Innovative Teaching, Presidential Science Teaching Award, Association for Mechanical Engineers Teacher of the Year, 2013 DiscoverE Educator Recognition Award, 2012 and 2014 IMSA Presidential Leadership Award, and the 2014 Leon Lederman Scholar Award.