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Celebrity chemist and beloved local science teacher enthralls fellow residents at Monarch Landing

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More than 40 years later, he continues to fascinate and amaze. Retired Naperville North teacher and “The David Letterman Show” celebrity Lee Marek presents the highlights of his amazing career to his fellow Naperville Monarch Landing senior living community.

Throughout his career, Marek has entertained, educated and inspired millions of Americans about the wonders of chemistry.

After working directly in chemical engineering out of college, Marek decided to change coursework and switch to teaching. He has been a chemistry teacher in North Naperville for 30 years and is also a chemistry teacher at DuPage College. He ran science history projects in Europe for 13 summers. After retirement, Marek taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago for 12 years and helped develop educational programs at Fermilab.

Early in his teaching, Marek and other science educators formed the ChemWest Consortium. The group develops quirky science, short, simple and often quirky demonstrations and ideas to help teachers keep students interested and engaged. The program remains, and Marek continues to attend meetings in person or virtually.

In the 1990s, late-night TV host David Letterman learned of a strange science project. For the next 10 years, Malek became a popular guest on the show. In addition to presenting entertaining experiments for “The David Letterman Show” audiences more than a dozen times, he created the Children’s Scientist feature, leading middle and high school students in 24 consecutive episodes over the next 15 years.

Marek has also shared his scientific entertainment on “The Bozo Show,” WTTW “Chicago Tomorrow,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” Fox, NBC, CBS News, and many other platforms.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

Over the years, Malek has been widely recognized and honored for his commitment to teaching and advancing science. His awards include the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and Science, the Golden Apple Award, the Illinois Distinguished Talent Award, the Tandy Distinguished Teacher Technology Scholar Award, the Governor’s Distinguished Teacher Award, the Technology Center Teacher Honor Roll Award and many more.

With all his public awards, achievements and appearances, Malek is most proud of the students who have positively impacted his career. People he knows include former students who attended Naperville North and are now chemistry teachers across the country. One of them is the department head at Naperville Central. Those he didn’t know included the millions of people who had seen his shows and performances, or were drawn to the ideas generated by the ChemWest Alliance, and became interested in science. His influence over the years is immeasurable.

“We are fortunate to have so many Monarch Landing residents with fascinating backgrounds, interests and talents. We are delighted that Lee Marek is willing to share his great life story, including his incredible teaching background and delightful TV appearance!” Margaret Dalke, Life Enrichment Manager. “Many of Monarch Landing’s best projects come when we are able to learn more about each other and share our stories and expertise for all to enjoy!

Monarch Landing, a living planning community located on a scenic campus in Naperville, Illinois, has been named “One of America’s Best Places to Live and Retire” by Modern Maturity and “Best Cities for Early Retirement” by Kiplinger . Monarch Landing offers independent living and an active lifestyle for active seniors. Springs at Monarch Landing provides memory-supported assisted living, respite care, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing services to provide a complete continuum of care for seniors. Monarch Landing is owned by Senior Care Development and managed by Life Care Services®. For more information, visit www.WelcomeToMonarchLanding.com or www.TheSpringsatMonarchLanding.com.





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