Since 1997, Ball State chemistry alumna Deanna York ('89MA04) has taught chemistry at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. She has been featured on pages 24-25 in the January 2011 edition of the Ball State Alumnus for receiving the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This award is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade teacher may receive in the United States.
York started out at Ball State taking classes to become a math and physical education teacher. While taking chemistry classes for her enjoyment, she encountered two of the many great professors in the department. She cites Dr. James Rybarczyk and professor emerita Dr. Lynn Sousa as inspiring her in the study of chemistry. Thanks to their teaching styles, passion, and patience, she changed her major to chemistry.
York's innovative teaching techniques drove her to write two "teacher-friendly" chemistry lab manuals and create the website thechemistryteacher.net. She traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept her award. While in the nation's capital, she toured the White House and the Capitol, had discussions with President Obama's congressional staff and administration, and attended professional development activities with the National Science Foundation.