Outreach & Education
Growing up, I was largely unaware of the many STEM careers open to me because I just didn't meet a lot of scientists growing up in rural Missouri. I knew I could be a medical doctor or engineer but that was about it. I actually didn't manage to stumble onto graduate school as a career choice until my junior year of undergraduate. These experiences have given me a passion to help reach students and educators with the excitement and possibilities STEM careers can offer.
I have engaged in numerous K-12 student outreach opportunities while at TCU and OU. I had the great fortune of working with Dr. Ari Berkowitz's Hand on Brain outreach program where I learned what good, effective outreach looks like. I saw the importance of being excited and letting students be hands-on with science. I've since used the lessons I learned to start doing outreach in my own areas of expertise, teaching students about the incredible biodiversity we have here in Oklahoma as well as the impacts we have on our environment.
I've also been involved in helping K-12 teachers in Oklahoma get the tools they need to effectively teach complicated issues like evolution, the nature of science, and geology. Working with a team of graduate and undergraduate students across many departments at OU and at other institutions in the state we have formed a group called Oklahoma Educators Evolve (OkEE). We aim to give K-12 teachers practical and effective tools to help meet the new science standards in Oklahoma and have put on many workshops for K-12 teachers across the state over the past two years. For more info on our work see our website and our Facebook page.
OKLAHOMA ENVIRONMENT EDUCATIONAL GAME
One of the major requests we have received from teachers at our workshops was tools to effectively teach about energy, climate change, water conservation, biodiversity, and other environmental issues. This led myself and my collaborator Joseph Frederickson to apply for a Creativity in Motion Grant through the OU College of Arts and Science to develop a free educational game aimed at exploring the intersection of these issues. We are currently developing the game and aim to roll a beta version out in 2017.
If you've been to one of our workshops here are some of the resources I've used. If you haven't, feel free to use them anyway!