David L. Smith, director of science and strategic initiatives at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, received the 2014 National Science Teachers Association Distinguished Informal Science Educator Award.
The award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the advancement of science education in an informal or nontraditional school setting, such as a science-technology center, museum, or community science center. Smith is the creator and director of the Da Vinci Science Center’s professional development programs for educators, which was recognized as one of the 20 best by the U.S. Department of Education. He is also chair of the Guiding Coalition of Mentor Allentown, a regional organization that is developing opportunities for mentor underserved students in STEM subjects and careers.
Smith joined the Center in 2002 as director of professional development. He was appointed chief scientist in 2013, then named senior director of science and strategic initiatives the following year. Earlier in his career, Smith was an associate professor of geology, environmental science and physics, and the director of academic operations and interim director of the Institute for the Advancement of Mathematics and Science Technology, all at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. His BSE in civil engineering is from Princeton in 1982 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.