Professor Ilse Kremer has been a science educator for almost two decades. She came to the United States as an 18-year-old immigrant from Belgium, owning nothing more than a suitcase of clothes and $500 in cash. She slept on a friend’s kitchen floor for months before saving up enough money to get a small apartment of her own. While then working full time as an executive assistant, she put herself through college, starting at the Maricopa Community Colleges and transferring to ASU.
Ilse initially intended to major in economics to complement the job she already had; she fell in love with biology while taking a science course to fulfill a university requirement and decided to switch her major. She finished with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and subsequently worked for two years managing a local immunology testing lab in Tempe.
Ilse always felt the pull to be a teacher and after the birth of her first child, she enrolled in a Master’s program in Education to obtain the K-12 science teaching credential. She then worked in various capacities as a teacher and teacher-leader in K-12 schools in the Valley. Ilse also taught at the same time as an adjunct at the Maricopa Community College district for evening classes, giving back to the college system that gave her so much. Eventually, she decided to quit teaching high school in 2012 to obtain a second Master’s degree in “hard science”, focusing on research in anatomy/physiology.
After graduation, Ilse spent 5 years as a professor at Grand Canyon University, becoming the Program Director for the Biology for Educators program and the lead editor for BrainSTEM. She eventually transitioned back to the community colleges, which will always be where her heart is in education, accepting a position as residential faculty in the science division at PVCC.
Ilse has won the “Adjunct of the Year” award, been awarded numerous grants, and has served on more than 15 committees that further excellence in education at the community college. Ilse’s research interest has evolved from pure biology (her master’s thesis was on the influence on nutritional environments on autism-knockout Caenorhabditis elegans) to applied science. She is currently finishing doctoral work at A.T. Still University, poised to earn a doctorate in Health Science in 2021, with a dissertation on the influence of science education on public behavior during health emergencies. Ilse’s work at the community college is currently focused on refining her experience with international STEM education. She serves on the International Education Committee and has presented at numerous conferences on the internationalization of the STEM curriculum. Ilse speaks 4 languages (her native Dutch, French, English and German) and has been trained in classical education from a very young age, so she can also find her way around original Latin classical texts. She is a fierce advocate for equality and inclusion of women, minorities, and international students in STEM. Her 20-year career goal is to bring international STEM education to the foreground at the community college, starting a program that connects science education experiences from around the world at the junior college level.