Dr. Cowen currently serves as the Faculty Chair, is a Faculty Leader, teaches Biology, AP Biology and AP Psychology, and functions as the advisor to both the National Honor Society and Forensics Club. Dr. Cowen has improved students’ lives for over 35 years, teaching science at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels. She has been at the Academy since 2003.
Dr. Cowen earned her PhD in Plant Breeding and Cytogenetics from Iowa State University in 1985, and her MS in Floriculture Breeding from Michigan State University in 1981. She earned a BS in Education 1979, BS in Horticulture 1979 and has two Associate Degrees in Plant Sciences from the University of Minnesota. In 2017 she completed a Plant Physiology Fellowship with the American Physiology Society. Dr. Cowen is integral in supporting Gurian teacher training, was certified as a Gurian Trainer in 2016, and has given numerous invited talks at National, State, and High School conferences highlighting the Academy’s successful boy-friendly classroom teaching strategies. These include international Gurian Institute Conferences where she trained other educators on boy-friendly teaching strategies the Academy Faculty have so successfully incorporated.
Dr. Cowen is a passionate educator, committed to her students and their educational success, holding them to high standards. She believes all students have gifts and talents. Her philosophy is for education to be impactful, be relevant, experienced, include an element of fun, and go beyond the classroom. In all her classes, Dr. Cowen is not only a teacher for her students but a mentor and role model, preparing them to be lifelong learners and leaders in their communities.
Dr. Cowen strongly supports real-world learning experiences and participates with her students in Citizen Science Projects, applying lessons to the Wildlife Certified Habitat outside the science building and to the marine ecosystem. Dr. Cowen is a trained Grunion Greeter and participates in the Grunion Greeter Pepperdine Research Data collection program. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, American Biology Teachers Association, San Diego Zoological Society, and Birch Aquarium.
Dr. Cowen enjoys supporting her students outside the classroom in their athletic pursuits, and at their award ceremonies, ASB and multicultural events, band and drama performances, and parades. Dr. Cowen grew up in Minnesota and moved to California with her family in 2001. In her free time, Dr. Cowen loves to garden, walk, read, and spend time with Neil, her husband of 35 years and their two daughters, Ariel and Leah.