Scholarship formed to honor longtime Plainview science teacher

Release Date: February 24, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – Just as Joanne Bowers has planted seeds of learning for many teachers over the past 20-plus years, chemistry students at Wayland Baptist University planted seeds for a scholarship in her honor recently.

The Student Affiliates Chapter of the American Chemical Society at Wayland presented a $500 check to the university Friday at the homecoming banquet held to celebrate 100 years of math and science at Wayland, kicking off the fund for a scholarship in chemical education. Immediate past president Stephanie Skiles and current president Zach Hawkins represented SACACS for the event. 

Dr. Joel Boyd, chapter sponsor and associate dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences, said the group hopes the fund encourages students to pursue teaching secondary science in public schools as Mrs. Bowers did and honors her legacy in teaching. He noted that schools are facing challenges in filling vacancies in high school science departments, and he knows that good science teachers are vital in preparing students for their college science experience and future careers in science. Wayland recently revamped its chemistry education program in preparation for the push toward teaching.

Bowers taught high school chemistry for 43 years, 37 of those with the Plainview school district. She earned an associate’s degree from Paris Junior College, a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in multidisciplinary sciences from Wayland.

She won many honors for her work in the classroom, including the Pan American Oil Company Science Teacher of the Year Award, the Westinghouse Teacher Award three times and the South Plains Section of the American Chemical Society Chemistry Teacher of the Year Award four times. In addition, she promoted laboratory safety and was involved in many state and local teachers’ organizations.

During her teaching career and after retirement, Bowers taught at Wayland during the summers as part of the ASSIST and ASSET programs, for which WBU received state grants for 20-plus years in order to enhance the teaching abilities of science teachers across the region. Many of the laboratory experiments she developed are still in use in high school chemistry labs across the state and nation.

Funds will be invested, with interest pulled off annually once the main corpus reaches $25,000. Donations toward the scholarship may be directed to the Office of Advancement, 1900 West 7th Street, Plainview, Texas 79072, with specific instructions to the Joanne Bowers Scholarship. Giving is also available online with a credit card via the WBU Web site at For more information on scholarship gifts, call the advancement office at (806) 291-3425.