West Amwell woman gets teaching award


By: Linda Seida, Staff Writer





Laura Blinderman was honored by Mercer County Community College where she is an associate professor of biology.

   WEST AMWELL Township resident Laura Blinderman recently won the Distinguished Teaching Award from Mercer County Community College.
   As an associate professor of biology, Ms. Blinderman has inspired students and fellow teachers alike.
   Explaining weighty scientific facts and theories to a class of students of varying abilities is no easy task, but Ms. Blinderman loves both the challenge and the subject matter.
   "I think that I make science enjoyable because I love it so much myself," Ms. Blinderman said. "I am constantly amazed, intrigued, wowed by new discoveries and by understanding how complicated things work. I approach each class knowing that I can make biology compelling even though it's challenging. The fact that it's complicated sometimes is the fun part. There are always interesting stories to tell about scientists I have known or things I have studied, or read."
   Ms. Blinderman grew up in Massachusetts before moving to San Diego for five years. She earned a master's degree in biology from San Diego State University and performed graduate work in genetics at the San Diego Zoo's Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, where she studied zebra DNA. She has conducted research for biotechnology firms, including Bristol-Myers Squibb.
   The work sounds intriguing, and Ms. Blinderman acknowledges she enjoyed it. Yet it is teaching that has captured and held her heart.
   "This is more gratifying than anything that could have happened to me in research unless, perhaps, I developed a cure for a disease," she said. "Opportunities here are greater for having an impact. Sometimes years go by, and I get an e-mail from a student, and on a day-to-day basis I can see the results of my work instantly."
   Her students have gone on to varied career paths, making her proud. Sometimes they return to their mentor.
   "I have a few students that come to visit me every semester," Ms. Blinderman said. "I heard from one that has been accepted to medical school, two are doing research at Rider University, one is doing research at Princeton, one is studying special education at The College of New Jersey, my funeral service students all go off to work in funeral homes, and I teach many allied health students who get jobs right after graduation."
   Ms. Blinderman moved to Lambertville in 1991, living on Buttonwood Street for eight years. She has resided in West Amwell Township for the past five years with her husband, Jim Riggs, who is chairman of the Biology Department at Rider University.
   They have two children, Wyatt, 14, who attends South Hunterdon Regional High School, and Juli, 10, a student at West Amwell Elementary School.