Abreast in the field of biological sciences, Ellen C. Averill, EdS, is a humanitarian who has maintained a lifelong goal to help other people. Working in laboratories throughout her career, she began her career as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, in 1966, remaining in this position for two years before becoming a science teacher within Decatur City Schools from 1971 to 1972. She then transferred to Kendrick High School in Columbus, Georgia, from 1980 until her retirement in 2004, also serving as department chair.
In addition to this tenure, Ms. Averill was a research assistant on the Wassau Island Caretta research project with the Savannah Science Museum in 1985 and participated in the NEWMAST-NASA Educational Workshop for Math and Science Teachers at the Kennedy Space Center in 1986. Some years later, she was a research assistant at the Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1990 and Woodrow Wilson Biotechnical Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1993, and instructed science in Valdosta State University’s governor’s honor program in 1991. Moreover, Ms. Averill founded the Georgia Coalition for Math and Science.
Prior to the start of her career, Ms. Averill pursued a formal education at the University of Georgia, earning a Bachelor of Science in 1966 and Master of Science in 1971. She then matriculated at Columbus State University, where she attained a Specialist in Education degree in 1994. Additionally, Ms. Averill was certified to teach in the State of Georgia in 1979 and received an Amateur Radio Operator, KE4MSQ License in 1994. An avid gardener, she also obtained Master Gardener Certifications from the states of Alabama in 2005 and Georgia in 2006, respectively.
Active in her local community, Ms. Averill has volunteered with Columbus Botanical Garden and been a member of the Valley Master Gardeners since 2006, and previously volunteered with Hope Harbor from 2004 to 2011 and the Callaway Garden from 2006 to 2018. Furthermore, she was the vice president of the Russell County Master Gardeners from 2007 to 2012 and invented the “Wrap-All” in 1992. She has also contributed myriad articles to newspapers and professional journals.
Involved with a large number of related organizations, Ms. Averill has participated as chair of Christmas in the Garden since 2013, a member of the Chattanoochee Valley Daylily Society since 2014 and the board of directors of the Columbus Botanical Garden since 2016. She was vice president of Phi Delta Kappa for two years and treasurer of Delta Kappa Gamma for six years, and was active with the Harris County Women’s Club in numerous roles between 2015 and 2019, among many others. In honor of her achievements, Ms. Averill was named an Outstanding Biology Teacher by the National Association of Biology Teachers from 1990 to 1991, Teacher of the Year by Phi Delta Kappa in 1992, District Science Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Science Teachers Association in 1995 and Volunteer of the Year by the Hope Harbor Battered Women’s Shelter in 2008.
Throughout her career, Ms. Averill has been motivated by her love of outdoor living things and seeing her students succeed. Despite difficulties from adhering to state regulations, curriculum restrictions and educational requirements, her secret to teaching is to be knowledgeable and like what you’re teaching, while being conscious of teaching good ethics and life skills. Now in retirement, Ms. Averill wants those around her to know how much she loved nature, and for them to use what she taught them in their lives.