J. Lynn Zimmerman

Published: Jan 4, 2002

 J. Lynn Zimmerman has been named a UMBC Presidential Teaching Professor, is the recipient of the UMBC Student Activities Outstanding Advisor Award and a Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring
J. Lynn Zimmerman has been named a UMBC Presidential Teaching Professor, is the recipient of the UMBC Student Activities Outstanding Advisor Award and a Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring

“A Mentor of Many”

An accomplished teacher and mentor for countless students at UMBC, J. Lynn Zimmerman credits her parents for her love of teaching and its importance to her. “My mother was a teacher in a one-room school house in rural Canada,” says Zimmerman, a professor of biological sciences who was recently named Presidential Teaching Professor, 2001-2004. “The value of education was always foremost in our home.”

But, it was her father and his love of plants that would inspire her most. He was a nurseryman for the city of Detroit. And, “Although he wasn’t educated beyond high school, he taught himself the Latin names of every plant he ever found,” recalls Zimmerman.

The little girl, who “always had the best leaf collection in school,” grew up to discover a “love of plant biology,” earning her master’s degree at Wayne State University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Zimmerman came to UMBC in 1983 and her current research involves the development and thermotolerance of plants.

Besides being named a Presidential Teaching Professor, Zimmerman is the recipient of the UMBC Student Activities Outstanding Advisor Award and a Regents’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

“Being a science professor in a research university is oftentimes a delicate balancing act to maintain an active and productive research program while at the same time devoting yourself to your students as a first priority,” says Zimmerman, who worked diligently to establish UMBC’s five-year-old Golden Key International Honor Society, which has been an international award-winning chapter three years in a row. “But it can, and must be done.”

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