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Bergen Biologist Brings Science to Life in Classroom

Mary Flannery.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College biology professor Mary Flannery has earned the institution’s 2019-20 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award.

“Professor Mary Flannery has fostered numerous programs to serve the biology and horticulture students at Bergen,” Vice President for Academic Affairs Brock Fisher, Ph.D., said. “A running thread in all of these initiatives is a deep desire to get her students engaged in hands-on, service-related activities to increase awareness on vital issues and bring science beyond the page and into their lives.”

“I am truly honored to receive the NISOD award,” Flannery said. “I have grown as an educator due to the mentoring and support provided by all of my colleagues in the biology department and by constructive feedback provided by my students.”

Flannery, of Pearl River, New York, began teaching at Bergen in 1996 as an adjunct faculty member. She served as a lecturer and then became a full-time faculty member in the biology and horticulture department in 2004. Flannery has taught biology, microbiology, human biology and anatomy and physiology courses. Nominated by fellow faculty members, Coleen Di Lauro, Ph.D., and Barbara Davis, Ph.D., Flannery has worked to integrate the application of science into students’ lives. She has served as co-coordinator for the biology department’s awareness day events for organ donation, diabetes, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, world hunger, childhood mortality and world water.

Her work on integrative learning experiences for microbiology and anatomy and physiology students appeared in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. Flannery has presented on topics such as model civic engagement on national health issues, creating community outreach programs in biology and microbiology education, and utilizing millennium development goals in biology education at the American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators and Metropolitan Association of Colleges and University Biologists annual meeting. Before beginning her teaching career, Flannery worked as a scientist and research scientist for Hoffmann La Roche and Unigene Labs.

The NISOD honoree earned a B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, a M.S. in biology from Temple University and a M.S. in educational technology from Iona College.

Flannery will accept her award in Austin, Texas this May during NISOD’s annual international conference.

NISOD is a consortium of community and technical colleges committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership. The NISOD Excellence Awards were established in 1991 to provide NISOD-member colleges with an opportunity to recognize individuals doing extraordinary work on their campuses. Since then, more than 25,000 recipients have been honored with the Award by their colleges. Each spring NISOD hosts an annual International Conference on Teaching and Leadership Excellence where Excellence Awards recipients celebrate their achievements and accomplishments at an awards dinner and celebration. To learn more about NISOD, visit

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.