Cadogan presented NMTC Rising Star Award

Published on March 1, 2024

This is a photograph of Cecil College’s Associate Professor of Biology Heather Cadogan.

NORTH EAST, Md: Cecil College’s Associate Professor of Biology Heather Cadogan was bestowed the honor of Rising Star for her work in STEM education from the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council during the Thirteenth Annual NMTC Visionary Awards.

NMTC connects collaborative leaders in academia, industry, and the federal government to build a STEM-educated workforce and advance innovation and technology to expand the state’s economy and protect national security. The 2024 Visionary Awards Gala was held at the Water’s Edge Event Center in Belcamp, Md., on Thursday, February 29.

As the Rising Star Award recipient, Cadogan was recognized for the enthusiasm she instilled in students entering the field of biology and her ability to infuse her previous career experience in healthcare and industry into the classroom, making courses more exciting and relevant to students.

“My goal is to make biology understandable, interesting, and relevant to all students. For those who enter my class feeling apprehensive, I hope to instill confidence and an appreciation for the impact of science in their lives. For those who enter with a passion for the sciences, I hope to add fuel to their passion, deepen their knowledge, and expand their horizons,” said Cadogan.

Cadogan’s passion for biology and drive to share her knowledge with students have made her stand out among her peers. Cadogan, a resident of Middletown, Del., is credited with creating the Biology Club at Cecil College, which has implemented several environmental projects within Cecil County.

Under her guidance, students participate in the EarthEcho’s Water Challenge.  Students collected and analyzed samples from the stream on campus and contributed results to a worldwide database. They also identified and planted native plants on the Engineering and Math Building terrace gardens, which is LEED-certified. She has expanded the students’ access to experts in many STEM fields by organizing guest speakers to discuss various environmental issues.

“There is immense growth in the region and nationally in the biotechnology field.   The applications are widespread, and there is an ever-increasing demand for qualified workers. The Bioproduction program at Cecil is a great preparation for entry. Another area with a growing need is the field of environmental science.   The biological sciences are foundational to both of these, and students with a strong biological background are well-prepared to enter them,” said Cadogan, who has arranged career exploration days and brought science researchers to campus to discuss their personal experiences in their fields.

As an academic, Cadogan has taken on revising and reworking the content of the Genetics program and General Biology lab course, as well as being instrumental in increasing the interest in Biology and STEM fields at Cecil College.

“Teaching and sharing information with others is an honor and privilege. This recognition is just a cherry on top. It inspires me to strive for continuous improvement – to expand my knowledge and consistently improve ways to share it and support student success.   I am honored to be included with the other award recipients,” said Cadogan. “I am grateful to my colleagues at Cecil College, as I am always learning new things from them. Many people generously share their ideas, experience, and expertise, and learning from them helps me improve in my job.”