Blinderman has always loved science. Since high school she has pursued
her scientific interests, earning B.S. and M.S. degrees, and working
in scientific research. After moving to New Jersey 13 years ago,
Blinderman tried her hand at teaching college classes at Mercer
County Community College.
First as a part-time
adjunct, and for the past nine years as a full-time associate professor,
Blinderman has taught biology, genetics, and anatomy and physiology
classes to a diverse student body. Last week, at commencement ceremonies,
her decision to change careers was affirmed in a way she never expected.
She was selected by her colleagues and students to receive the prestigious
“Distinguished Teaching Award” for 2005.
In her acceptance
speech Blinderman said: “What I love about teaching science
is the opportunity to be immersed in the study of the beauty, the
complexity, and the elegance of living systems and to be able to
share that fascination with others. I encourage you to keep asking
questions, be curious, view the world with wonder, and maintain
a healthy skepticism.”
A comment from
one of Blinderman’s colleagues sums up the opinion of many
on the Mercer campus. “I believe that she personifies a great
teacher: tough but fair, dynamic, available, approachable, interested
and committed. She is one of the unsung heroes who goes about her
duties without a lot of noise and fanfare.”
equally laudatory: “She is a wonderful educator and truly
cares for all students. She was one of the kindest professors I
had at Mercer.” “She is an outstanding teacher. She
explains the subject matter so that everyone can understand it.
She knows how to make classes a truly enjoyable learning experience.”
up in Massachusetts, Blinderman lived for five years in San Diego,
where she earned her M.S. from San Diego State University in biology
and did graduate work in genetics at the Center for Reproduction
of Endangered Species at the San Diego Zoo. She then conducted scientific
research for Bristol Myers Squibb and several biotechnology firms.
Although she loved her research work, Blinderman has found another
love in teaching, and she can see the results of her work every
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.”
never expected to teach at a community college, she has come to
embrace the idea, and she appreciates the older and more diverse
student population. “Now that I’m here I think this
is where I would have chosen to teach. My students know what they
want and they value what they are doing. I enjoy working with the
member of many college committees, Blinderman sees the college environment
as continually stimulating and challenging. “The thing about
teaching is there are unlimited things you can get involved in.
The biggest problem is having to limit what you do. I can’t
see ever getting bored and I think that’s true for education
in general – it is always interesting.”
Among her many
activities Blinderman serves on the steering committee for the NJ
chapter of SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and
Responsibilities), a project funded by the National Science Foundation.
whose husband, Jim Riggs, chairs the biology department at Rider
University, said sharing experiences with him has been a bonus.
In many cases Mercer’s graduates transfer to Rider, so he
is teaching his wife’s former students. The family moved to
West Amwell recently after living many years in downtown Lambertville.