Throughout her educational career, Dr.Julia Cothron has led innovative educational programs that support teachers in providing conceptual, experiential and relevant curricula to all students. Known for her visionary insights and commitment to excellence, she has been an educational pioneer as the executive director of a non-profit regional organization, a statewide leader, a school-division administrator and a teacher-student educator.
Nationally recognized for her four books and articles on effective strategies for integrating student research into the classroom, Dr. Julia Cothron has made hundreds of presentations on the topic; for the work she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Association of Science Teachers. Within Virginia Dr. Cothron has led many professional organizations and committees with her current foci being strategic planning for the Virginia Mathematics & Science Coalition and expanding student research opportunities through the Virginia Junior Academy of Science.
Dr. Julia Cothron began her career as a teacher in public and private schools in Georgia and Virginia. During her 11 years as a teacher, she taught all sciences in grades 6-12, implemented a K-5 science program and was a science department chair. For the next 11 years, Dr. Cothron held a number of positions with the Hanover County Public Schools (VA) including Supervisor of Science, Coordinator of Long Range Planning and Science, and Director of Middle and Senior High Schools. From 1991 to 2012, Dr. Julia Cothron was the Executive Director of the MathScience Innovation Center, a regional consortium of K-12 school divisions in Central Virginia. During her career she has made over 100 presentations at the state and national level, served as a consultant to school divisions in multiple states, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses for the College of William & Mary, University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A native of Georgia, Dr.Julia Cothron graduated from Whigham High School, attended LaGrange college and secured a B.S. and M.Ed in Biology from Valdosta State University. After moving to Virginia, Dr. Cothron attended the University of Virginia where she was awarded an Ed.D with a major in science education and minors in supervision and research-statistics. A continual learner, she secured additional education and certification in the areas of school administration, non-profit management, grant writing and school-based improvement models.
Although Dr. Julia Cothron first thinks of herself as a “science educator”, she is in today’s parlance a STEM educator, for her programming has always focused on providing students with the skills needed to pursue careers in these economic sectors and to make logical and relevant connections among science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other applied sciences.