NAGT > Professional Development > Speakers and Topics > Distinguished Speakers Series > 2009 - 2010 Distinguished Speakers

2009 - 2010 Distinguished Speakers

Go to the online application and funding request form to submit your Distinguished Speaker request.


Robert Butler

Department of Physics, University of Portland, OR
Robert Butler was at the University of Arizona from 1974 through 2004 and was involved in field projects on six continents. In 2004, he moved to the University of Portland where he teaches Earth System Science; Natural Hazards of the Pacific Northwest; and Introduction to Marine Science. His scholarly work includes directing the Teachers on the Leading Edge collaborative, a K-12 Earth Science teacher professional development program, and education and outreach activities connected with the National Science Foundation's EarthScope Project.
  • Engaging Secondary School Students and Nonscience Undergraduate Majors in EarthScope Science

LuAnn Dahlman

NOAA Climate Program Office

LuAnn Dahlman is a writer and editor for the Communications and Education group at NOAA's Climate Program Office. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Geology at Arizona State University, and served as a practicing educator, K-12 curriculum developer, and workshop leader for inservice educators for more than 20 years. She has served as co-PI and Project Director on several NSF projects that encourage the use of technology and Earth science data for teaching and learning. During the 2006-2007 field season, Ms. Dahlman worked as a member of the ANDRILL project—ANtarctic geology DRILLing—recovering sedimentary rock records from beneath McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica.


  • Adventures of an ANDRILLian: Geoscience research in Antarctica
  • How We Know What We Know about Global Climate Change
  • Promoting a Revolution in Earth and Space Science Education: Strategies for increasing the rigor and perception of Earth science courses in high schools

Susan DeBari

Geology Department and Science Education Program, Western Washington University
Susan DeBari has a joint appointment in the Geology Department and the Science Education Program at Western Washington University. Her teaching and research efforts are split between both disciplines, with active research programs in subduction zone magmatism and effective learning strategies in introductory geology courses. She is involved in a NSF Math-Science Partnership whose goal is to reform K-12 science education in northwestern Washington through teacher professional development and improved teacher preparation programs. Susan teaches geology courses for undergraduate and graduate students, and science methods classes for future teachers.
  • Geology and Everyday Thinking: An introductory geology curriculum for future teachers that models the key findings of "How People Learn"
  • Workshop. Modeling effective teaching strategies for pre-service teachers: research-based strategies used in an introductory geology curriculum
  • Teaching undergraduate petrology as a writing-intensive field course

Thomas R. Koballa, Jr.

University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Thomas R. Koballa, Jr. is a professor of science education in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Georgia. Dr. Koballa holds a bachelor's degree in Biology and master's degree in Science Education from East Carolina University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the Pennsylvania State University. He is past president of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching and the recipient of the Association of Science Teacher Education's Outstanding Mentoring Award. He teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in science education and has authored or coauthored more than 60 journal articles and chapters. His current research foci include science teacher learning and mentoring.
  • Science Teacher Mentoring Content, Practices, and Culture: Explore mentoring content, mentoring practices, and mentoring culture, three areas of importance to science education leaders responsible for guiding the work of science teachers.
  • Investigating the Fundamentals of Science Instructional Planning: Learn the fundamentals of science instructional planning through your answers the following questions: Whom are you planning to teach?, What are you planning to teach?, How are you planning to manage the learning environment?, and How are you planning to assess student learning?
  • Assessing Science Learning: Explore the fundamentals of a balanced and seamless science assessment system, and how assessment can be used to improve science teaching and learning.

Thomas Hickson

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
Tom Hickson teaches geology at the University of St. Thomas (in St. Paul, not the Virgin Islands, unfortunately) where he has helped to invigorate the geosciences through innovative curricular design, teaching, and undergraduate research. He is currently director of environmental science at St. Thomas, a program that he was instrumental in creating in 2008-09. He has attended a number of "On the Cutting Edge" workshops as both a participant and session leader, and he led the "Teaching Sedimentary Geology in the 21st Century" workshop in 2006. Tom's main efforts center on integrating in-depth, project-based experiences into his courses and the use of physical models to teach environmental geology, geomorphology, and sedimentology. He also is strongly committed to implementing real-world data into all of his courses and encouraging his students to 'think like geoscientists.'
  • No more lecture, way more engagement: developing a 100% project-based course from the ground up
  • Building and using physical models in the classroom
  • Many options for many types of students: Integrating undergraduate research across the geoscience curriculum


Stephen Pompea

National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Tucson, AZ
Stephen Pompea is enthusiastic about using creative instructional materials and innovative programs to reach new audiences in earth science and astronomy education. As Manager of Science Education and Scientist at NOAO in Tucson he is currently a PI or Co-PI on four major NSF-funded science education projects. He brings a unique perspective that reflects his work as an earth science classroom teacher and informal science educator, in industry and academia as an infrared instrument designer, and as a creator of instructional materials at all levels. He was educated at Rice University, Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona, where he received his Ph.D. in astronomy and serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor. He manages over fifteen diverse programs in science education, has received a number of teaching and invention awards, and is the co-author of three books in the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science GEMS series including Invisible Universe and The Real Reasons for the Seasons.
  • GLOBE at Night: Starting and Maintaining a Worldwide Citizen Science Project
  • Starting an Effective Science Outreach Program: Is There an Easy Way?
  • Sonification: How Scientific Data Can Become Music, and Teach!

Wayne Powell

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, New York, NY
Wayne Powell is an Associate Professor and Chair of Geology at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He focuses on the development of earth science teacher-training programs that integrate neighborhood-based learning through partnerships with non-formal education organizations such as museums and parks. Based in New York City, Wayne is particularly interested in how urban resources (cultural, natural and professional) can be best used to overcome the challenges of inner-city education. In the past five years, he has been supported in these endeavors by four grants from NSF, and four grants from the New York State Education Department. Believing that active engagement in scientific inquiry is essential for both science students and science educators, Wayne maintains an active research program which focuses on applying petrological approaches to the understanding of processes such as ore genesis and taphonomy.
  • City-As-Lab: A Model for Civically-Engaged Geoscience Education in an Urban Environment
  • Pickled Priapulids: A Brine-Seep Origin for Fossil Beds of the Burgess Shale

Eric Pyle

Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, VA
Eric J. Pyle has been an Associate Professor of Geology in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science at James Madison University since 2005, where he specializes in Geoscience Education issues, primarily at the secondary level. This includes extensive work with teachers of Earth science, with professional development and instructional materials as a focus. He worked as a science education specialist at WVU (1995-2004). A graduate of the UGA (science education), he worked as an Earth science teacher in North Carolina from 1986-1992, after receiving his MS from Emory University (Geology) and BS from UNC-Charlotte (Earth Science/Geology), concentrating on igneous/metamorphic petrology. A Past President of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, he is currently the President-Elect of the Virginia Association of Science Teachers and 2nd Vice Chair of the Geoscience Education Division for GSA.
  • Inquiry in Earth Science Education: Making Pre-college Earth Science a "Laboratory" Experience
  • What Makes Teaching Support Learning? A Framework for Designing Geoscience Instructional Materials
  • The Wilson Cycle as a Guiding Theory for Designing Instruction in the Geosciences (after 12/08)

Linda Reinen

Pomona College, Claremont, CA
Linda Reinen, Associate Professor of Geology, joined the Pomona College faculty in 1995. She has taught courses in geologic hazards, hydrogeology, neotectonics, structural geology, and research methods, and she received the Biggs Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching from the Geological Society of America in 2003. To promote active student participation in the learning process, she includes student-conducted research, quantitative reasoning, and numerical modeling in her courses. As part of her own research, she and her students investigate the mechanical behavior of crustal rocks using field-based, laboratory, and numerical methods.
  • Using computational science to investigate and visualize complex geologic phenomena
  • Integrating student-conducted research into the curriculum

Kristen St. John

James Madison University
Dr. Kristen St. John is an Associate Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. She is a marine sedimentologist and specializes in high latitude paleoclimate records, particularly reconstructing ice-rafting histories. She has participated in several scientific ocean drilling expeditions with ODP/IODP. Kristen is the lead scientist-educator on an NSF-funded project branded as Building Core Knowledge – Reconstructing Earth History. This project integrates research on Earth history and climate change in the development of curricular materials for undergraduate geoscience and general education courses. Kristen was also a lead instructor for the IODP teacher professional development program at sea, The School of Rock. Her undergraduate teaching responsibilities include: Earth Systems and Climate Change, Oceanography for Teachers, Earth Science for Teachers, and Physical Geology.

  • Engaging General Education Students with Scientific Ocean Drilling Data on Earth History and Climate Change
  • The Science and Education of Polar Climate Change
  • The School of Rock Experience - An Immersive Shipboard Teacher Research Program

Barbara Tewksbury

Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
Barbara Tewksbury has taught geology at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY since 1978. She has spoken widely and published on effective teaching and geoscience education issues and has played a leadership role in the national geoscience education community for over fifteen years. She has given dozens of workshops to faculty in departments across the country and has been co-PI on a number of grants to offer workshops for geoscience faculty (including On the Cutting Edge). She is a Past President of the American Geological Institute, a Past President of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. In 1997, she was named New York State Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Shaking the tree: strategies for designing effective courses
  • Taking a critical look at assignment design
  • Incorporating GIS into undergraduate geoscience courses

Michael Wysession

Washington University in St. Louis
Michael Wysession, Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is a leading expert on using seismic imaging to determine the structure, composition and dynamics of Earth's mantle. He received the Presidential Faculty Fellowship and Packard Foundation Fellowship for his work. Wysession is a leader in geoscience education, as Chair of the Earth Science Literacy Initiative, Chair of Education and Outreach for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, lecturer in a 48-lecture video course on "How the Earth Works" with The Teaching Company, and author/writer of textbooks at middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Working Toward an Earth Science Literate Public
  • The Future of Earth Science Textbooks


Request a Speaker





This year's speakers are cosponsored by Deep Earth Academy and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.