Dr. Penny Hammrich

Dr. Penny Hammrich died on Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 10:30 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

Her Funeral Mass was at 10:30 a.m., Monday, August 29, 2022 at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Watertown with Father John Fischer officiating. Interment was at St. Mary's Cemetery, Watertown.

Penny Louise Hammrich was born May 13, 1964, to Harvey Frank and Juanita Rose (Novak) Hammrich in Eureka. She attended school in Webster until they moved to Watertown in 1977. She graduated from Watertown High School in 1982. She went on to get a bachelor's degree from SDSU in 1986 in Biology and obtained her teaching certificate. She then went on to obtain her master's from Minnesota State University in Biology/Genetics. Penny was always a scholar, so she continued to pursue her PhD from the University of Minnesota in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in science education.

While in high school Penny was an outstanding athlete. She was always focused and worked hard to be the best that she could be. She was pursued by many schools to play basketball at the next level. Colleges even flew her to the visit in hopes of persuading her to commit! She made her choice to stay close to home and follow her dad by playing basketball at South Dakota State University. Penny was the type of person who excelled at anything she did.

When Penny graduated with her PhD, she got her 1st job at Temple University. She was at Temple from 1994-2003. She was a Professor of Science Education and Founding Associate Dean of Research and a Senior Research Associate at the Mid-Atlantic Laboratory for Student Success. While at Temple she created the company Sisters in Science (Science Program for kids). Many schools on the east coast had this in their elementary schools as the school's science curriculum. She sold her company to a big publisher. March 15, 2006, she testified (Committee on Science) in the House of Representatives on ways to improve education. During the Bush administration she received an educational award at the White House.

From 2003-2010 she was the Dean of Education at Queens College, City University of New York. She also was a Professor of Science Education at CUNY and served as a Professor of Urban Education and Educational Psychology at CUNY graduate center in Manhattan.

In 2010 she joined Drexel University. She worked her way up and became the Dean of the Education Department. Over the past 25 years she had been the principal investigator on more than 35 research grants totaling more than 30 million. She had published more than 150 articles, 5 science lab manuals for college level biology courses, 26 science curriculum manuals, 6-chapter books and she was in the process of writing another one. She had edited 14 articles, written 75 government and technical reports, was cited in media over 100 times, and made over 500 national and international presentations. She also had run a nonprofit company focused on science education and founded and operated a cancer foundation to support those suffering from cancer.

Grateful for sharing her life are her brother, Nick (Krysta) Hammrich of Eden Prairie, Minn. and sister Peggy (Dennis) Heinz of Huron; her eight nieces and nephews, Houstyn (Lexi) Heinz, Hyland Heinz, Havyn Heinz, Hamtyn Heinz, Hylton Heinz, Mason Hammrich, Avery Hammrich, and Kaden Hammrich; and her dog Pippa.

She is preceded in death by her parents (Juanita and Harvey), and the love of her life her dog Pomar.

Arrangements by Wight & Comes Funeral Chapel, http://www.wightandcomes.com. Penny's service will be recorded and will be posted under her obituary on the funeral home website when available.


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