Paul Shin was somebody very special indeed. Within the time that we knew him through COPUS, we all gravitated to his energy, passion, and determination to make a difference in the world. That difference was made in a big way. Losing Paul left a deep sadness, but huge joyful memories.
Paul received his B.A. in Chemistry at the University of California at Santa Cruz and then went on to earn a Ph.D. at Colorado State University. Most recently he was a Chemical Instrumentation Manager and Instructor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University, Northridge. He maintained the departmental instrumentation and trained students and faculty to use the chemical instrumentation as needed, as well as teaching Principles of Chemistry. Paul also served as a Specialist Reserve Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department (HazMat Unit and received the 2008 Reserve Officer of the Year award from the Emergency Services Division of the LAPD.
Paul's goal was to promote scientific literacy in two ways: through chemical education and combating the proliferation of pseudo-science. "As a chemical educator since 1983, I have been teaching in one way or another- from high school to post-doctoral levels, from public presentations to business/industrial workplaces... The most rewarding aspect of teaching is seeing students succeed when they thought they couldn't!"
Paul's educational philosophy was based upon two axioms:
We miss you, Paul!
In honor of Paul, COPUS has created the Paul Shin Memorial Award.
"Darlene told me there was someone I needed to meet, his name was Paul Shin. After my first cross continental phone call with him, I hung up, called my partner in crime Judy and said "Wow! I just met the most amazing person, he belongs in our COPUS family!" Paul was a leader, but the kind of leader who led by his actions rather than by persuasion. He showed people how rewarding, exciting, and personally satisfying it can be to follow your passions. He accepted people with openness and trust; he lived for each moment, knowing he could make a difference with the knowledge and skills he had. Paul will forever be a member of the COPUS Core. His seat will always be at the table, and we will always look to him for guidance, wisdom, and encouragement in the celebration of science."
-- Sheri Potter
"I've considered myself a colleague of Paul's for several years now, and first met him over the phone as a result of his embracing the SoCal Science Café initiative. By the time I was lucky enough to have met him in person I was not surprised to find him as affable as he came across over the phone and in email. Paul always brought a tremendous energy with him. He was passionate about the work we did together, but always so personable too. I can't think of a conversation with Paul that wasn't punctuated with laughter, or a scheme that we cooked up together that wasn't fueled by a special glint in his eye."
-- Ben Wiehe
"Paul was the greatest of all science cheerleaders. He didn't just root people on from the sidelines. He incorporated new forms of engagement into his teaching (made evident by the number of his students who become facebook fans of Science Cheerleader and the number of students who would join him at events...on their own time!). He wore that Science Cheerleader t-shirt well. And I could probably write a book based on his facebook comments alone! My personal friends felt a loss when I posted news about Paul's passing, though they had never met him. They'd read enough of his comments to develop a real affinity for Paul. Man, was he easy to like!
The more I worked with Paul, the more I understood what a remarkable person he was. Funny, smart, clearly adored his wife and kids; but he also "got it" when it came to communicating science to the masses. Not enough scientists do. Not like Paul. And he was just getting started...
This was a man who expected nothing in return for his support. Nothing but the opportunity to become more fully involved in the causes he supported. I'm so proud to count him among the Science Cheerleaders and COPUS. He will forever be part of our team. His support and enthusiasm will live on forever. And, as many people have already pointed out, we are all better people for having known Paul Shin."
-- Darlene Cavalier
"I can only express my sadness for losing Paul. He was super motivated, very creative, and passionate about his work with COPUS and I know the science and science education communities will miss his influence."
-- Jennifer Collins
"What can you say about a guy who teaches science to cops? Perhaps that it reflects his unique creativity, his passion, and his energetic dedication to the public understanding of science. He will long be an inspiration to all of us at COPUS."
-- Judy Scotchmoor
"I knew Paul only for a short time during the COPUS meeting in Berkeley. But that short time left me with an impression of Paul as someone who was smart, dedicated, and passionately committed to communicating science to non-scientists. It was fun to share our many interests, such as Tolkien books, Brit humor and Star Trek. It's hard to believe that only a few months back we were chatting, laughing and working together and now he is gone. But he's left us with memories and inspiration to continue our work. Thank you Paul. Boldly go, my friend."
-- Roger Harris
Honor the legacy of Dr. Paul Shin by contributing to the Paul Shin Memorial Award fund.