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2016 TED Officer Elections

published May 24, 2016 12:00am

It is time to vote for officers for the Teacher Education Division of NAGT. The ballot includes President, Past President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer. The voting begins on May 24, 2016 and ends on July 1, 2016.

Officer Candidate Elections


Jeff Thomas is an associate professor of science education and earth science at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT. He teaches secondary science methods, earth science and physical science for elementary majors, meteorology, and various graduate courses for in-service science teachers. Previously, Jeff was a secondary earth science teacher for twelve years and he was also a broadcast meteorologist for four years. His research interests are related to reading and writing in science, curriculum development, geoscience education.

Education: BS Meteorology (minor in Geology), California University of Pennsylvania; Ed.D, Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. Professional Experience: Assistant Professor at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) from 2008 to 2014, Associate Professor at CCSU from 2014 to present. Professional Activity: Jeff has been awarded over $1.1 million dollars of external grant funds, either as the principal investigator (PI) or the co-principal investigator (Co-PI). This includes federally-funded Teacher Quality Partnership Grants and Math and Science Partnership Grants. Jeff has also been awarded over $50,000 of internal grant funds. Jeff has 32 conference proceedings and seven peer-reviewed publications, mostly in geoscience education. Professional Service: Jeff has been actively involved in the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE). Jeff has been on the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) Awards Committee (10-13), reviewer for the Journal of Geoscience Education, and vice president and president of the NAGT—Teacher Educator Division.

Past President

Heather Petcovic is an Associate Professor holding a joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education at Western Michigan University. She is actively engaged in the education of K-12 earth science teachers as an instructor of content and blended content/methods courses, and as departmental advisor to undergraduate Earth Science and Integrated Science teacher preparation programs. She has been involved with several teacher professional development projects, most recently as a consultant to the Michigan Teacher Excellence Program (MiTEP) and the Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform (Mi-STAR) program. Her research focuses on the role of fieldwork in geoscience expertise.

Education: BA Geology, Smith College; MS Geology, Oregon State University; PhD Geology, Oregon State University. Professional Experience: NSF GK-12 Teaching Fellow (2000-01), Oregon State University Science Connections Outreach Coordinator (2000-04), Western Michigan University Geosciences/Science Education joint faculty (2004-present). Teaching: Earth science for K-8 preservice teachers, earth materials, field geology, graduate courses in science education theory, research, and practice. Service: Curriculum & Instruction Editor for the Journal of Geoscience Education (2014-present), elected officer of the GSA Geoscience Education Division (2004-08), NAGT Distinguished Lecturer (2010-11), TED President (2014-15) and Past President (2015-16). PI/Co-PI on six externally funded science education projects, published over a dozen peer-reviewed papers in both research and practitioner science education journals.

Vice President

Suzanne Traub-Metlay, Ph.D., is full-time faculty at Western Governors University, Teachers College, preparing pre-service and of-record teachers to become middle school and high school Earth science educators with subject matter expertise in geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy. Suzanne leads the Geosciences Education program, teaches graduate students as well as undergraduates, and assists students getting ready for their Praxis and state content exams nationwide. Prior to joining WGU, Suzanne was full-time astronomy faculty at Front Range Community College, Colorado; Operations Director at Secure World Foundation (private non-profit for space sustainability); Education Programs Manager at Fiske Planetarium, University of Colorado at Boulder; and a member of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET). Current passions include annual talks at local astronomy clubs about Pluto and other dwarf planets, active engagement in professional organizations (NAGT, GSA, NSTA), and anything Orphan Black or Doctor Who.

Education: B.A., History & Science (Geology & Soviet Studies), Harvard University; Ph.D, Geology & Planetary Science, University of Pittsburgh (PA).

Professional Experience: Western Governors University, Teachers College (2012-present; 2015 WGU Mentoring Contributions Award for peer collaboration and support); Front Range Community College (CO; 2010-2012); Secure World Foundation (CO; 2008-2011); University of Colorado at Boulder, Fiske Planetarium (2004-2008); plus more.

Professional Service: Peer reviewer, Journal of Competency Based Education (2015-present); Founded and administered Earth Education Resources for Two-Year College Faculty (EarthEd2YC; with Rusty Low, NASA Earth Forum Lead; 2014-2015); NAGT Geosciences for Two-Year Colleges (Geo2YC) executive board (archivist; 2012-2014); plus more.


Mark Abolins is a Professor of Geosciences at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) near Nashville, TN. During 2013-2017, he is the principal investigator and one of five research mentors in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Geosciences Directorate's first Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site designed exclusively for undergraduate pre-service science teachers. During 2016, he is also the principal investigator of a NSF InTeGrate sub-award for the implementation of geoscience education innovations at MTSU. In 2014, he completed fourteen years of service as the Middle Tennessee State University campus representative to the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium, part of the NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. As the campus Space Grant representative, he oversaw numerous small grants, including grants for pre-college and graduate (MTSU Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D.) projects.

Education: A.B. Geology, Univ. California-Berkeley; M.S. and Ph.D. Geology, Calif. Institute of Tech. Professional Experience: Geosciences Faculty, Middle Tenn. State Univ. (98-present). Service and experience: Organized GSA Southeastern Section field trip (2015) and GSA Annual Meeting field trip (2000); Published 3 papers (including one in 2014) in Journal of Geoscience Education. Awards: 1992 NSF Graduate Fellowship, 1997 Richard H. Jahns graduate assistant teaching award (Caltech Geol. & Planetary Sci.), 1998 NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in STEM Education (declined by Abolins so he could accept position at Middle Tenn.).