2003 Helen M. Free Award Winner
Lee Marek, retired high school chemistry teacher from Naperville North High School, Naperville, Illinois is the 2003 Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach. Mr. Marek has led or co-directed well over 600 workshops and programs for teachers, students and the general public. Marek is part of a group called WEIRD SCIENCE that has presented programs across the U.S. and in a number other countries. Marek founded the Chicago-area teachers’ alliance group Chem West and organized the group for 14 years. Marek has produced videos, laser disks, DVDs and consulted for numerous science-related projects. Mr. Marek has appeared over 30 times on "The David Letterman Show"; one of his segments was a finalist for an Emmy Award. He was highlighted on the 40th anniversary of the “Bozo the Clown Show”.
Mr. Marek has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, a M.S. in physics and another M.S. in chemistry. He has done additional course work at more than 20 colleges and universities.
Marek’s students have won numerous awards, including several chosen to be National Chemistry Olympiad participants and Westinghouse National Talent Search finalists. Marek has a strong interest in the history of chemistry and has traveled extensively in Europe. Marek has been the co-leader of numerous history of science tours to Europe for teachers. He worked with Fermilab for over 20 years on science programs and was on the Friends of Fermilab advisory board for 20 years. He was a Woodrow Wilson Chem Team Leader for ten years and a Flinn Scientific Chem Team Leader for nine years. He worked on several video projects for Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman. Mr. Marek is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his teaching excellence. He retired from teaching high school and is now working for the University of Illinois in Chicago as a chemical demonstrator and lecturer.