Christos Zahopoulos, who leads Northeastern’s effort to boost math– and science-​​based edu­ca­tion in the public schools, has been elected a 2011 Fellow of the Mass­a­chu­setts Academy of the Sciences.

Fel­lows of the academy — a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to pro­moting public under­standing and appre­ci­a­tion of the sci­ences — are elected annu­ally through a highly selec­tive peer-​​reviewed process, based on pro­fes­sional achieve­ment in sci­en­tific research or education.

As part of his fel­low­ship, Zahopoulos may serve as a pro-​​bono con­sul­tant on mat­ters of sci­ence to the gov­ernor, and to local, state and fed­eral agencies.

It’s an honor for me and for North­eastern to be part of an academy whose mem­bers con­tribute so much to sci­ence and science-​​based edu­ca­tion,” said Zahopoulos, an asso­ciate pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Engi­neering and Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, and the exec­u­tive director of Northeastern’s Center for STEM (Sci­ence, Tech­nology, Engi­neering and Math) Education.

The center serves as a con­necting link between the University’s sci­ence, engi­neering and math pro­grams and the edu­ca­tion pro­gram, and seeks to play a key role in improving STEM edu­ca­tion in the Com­mon­wealth of Mass­a­chu­setts and beyond.

The number of Mass­a­chu­setts col­lege stu­dents studying sci­ence and math has been on a steady decline since 1993. Ele­vating those fig­ures, said Zahopoulos, could boost the economy.

I don’t think that anyone can argue that one of the most impor­tant ways to get out of the eco­nomic crisis would be through inno­va­tions in sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math,” said Zahopoulos. “In order to com­pete in a global economy, it is absolutely nec­es­sary that our stu­dents are pre­pared to become the future inno­va­tors in these fields.”

Last year, Mass­a­chu­setts Gov­ernor Deval Patrick appointed Zahopoulos to the Governor’s STEM Advi­sory Council. In this role, Zahopoulos works with mem­bers of Mass­a­chu­setts’ seven regional STEM Net­works to make rec­om­men­da­tions to the gov­ernor, cab­inet mem­bers and leg­is­la­tors on how best to tailor cur­riculum stan­dards to better serve students.

He favors more spe­cific grade-​​by-​​grade state cur­riculum stan­dards. “The fact is that the cur­riculum lacks coher­ence on a state and national level,” he said. “We need to make sure that stu­dents who move from school to school aren’t learning the same con­cepts over and over.”