2020 GER Elections

published Jun 1, 2020 9:39am

It is time to vote for officers of the Geoscience Education Research Division of NAGT. The ballot includes Past President, President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Graduate Student Liaison. Voting begins on June 1 and ends on July 1, 2020.

Officer Candidate Biographies

Past President

Kelsey Bitting is an Assistant Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Elon University. Kelsey's research interests include exploring the impact of inquiry-based learning experiences on geoscience students' understanding of the nature of science, examining conceptual learning in the context of introductory geology student exploration in virtual field environments, and understanding how faculty and teaching assistant teaching beliefs and practices develop and evolve. She served as the NAGT GER Division's Communications Committee Director from 2015 to 2018, creating the monthly newsletter. She regularly offers workshops and programs for faculty across STEM disciplines and beyond, with an emphasis on the theory and practice of inclusive teaching, evidence-based course and activity design, and intentional student mentoring.

Education: B.A. in Earth and Environmental Sciences & Anthropology, Vanderbilt University; Ph.D. in Geological Sciences and Quaternary Studies Certificate from Rutgers University.

Teaching experience: Uundergraduate-level courses in the geology and environmental science, graduate-level courses in teaching in the geosciences, K-12 science teacher Earth Science content professional development, and university faculty pedagogical professional development.

Memberships: NAGT, GSA, POD Network, CMIND


Emily Geraghty Ward is an Associate Professor in the Geology Program at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Her research interests are focused on how places and cultures influence the way people learn about and interpret the physical landscape. Her projects have focused on assessing learning in both formal and informal contexts through place-based instruction and research apprenticeships. Her current work looks at the design and assessment of place-based geoscience interventions and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). Student research projects include investigating rockfall hazards, analyzing fracture networks, and mapping local bedrock geology. Emily is currently serving as the VP for the GER division.

Education: B.A. Geology, Whitman College; M.S. Geology, Washington State University; Ph.D. Geology, University of Montana

Teaching Experience: college level courses including Introductory Geology, Geomorphology, Geology of the National Parks and Monuments, Oil and Gas Geology, Geomechanics, and Geology Capstone course.

Memberships: AGU, GSA, NAGT, Geoscience Alliance (GA), Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)

Vice President

Lauren Neitzke Adamo is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and the Co-Director of the Geology Museum at Rutgers University. Lauren's research interests include paleoceanography, science communication, evaluating the use of drones in undergraduate classrooms, and geoscience education in informal educational settings. She is especially interested in working with undergraduate STEAM majors to help create more meaningful and successful Undergraduate Research Experiences and developing and implementing teaching models for use in K-16 geoscience classrooms. Lauren has served the GER community by serving as the Media Director for NAGT GER division, participating in committees for GSA, EER, ESWN, AWG, and chairing program sessions at GSA and AGU on educational research.

Statement on why I want to run:
I have always had a deep commitment to geoscience education and my involvement in the NAGT GER division allows me to connect to geoscience educators and researchers around the country. This involvement, in turn, lets me work with like-minded individuals to bring these connections to the entire community through the various initiatives and programs that the GER division provides. I have learned a lot about the community in my role as the Media Director and I hope to continue to serve the GER division in this new role.

Education: B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Rutgers University

Vice President

Dr. Leilani Arthurs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CUB). Her research involves investigating the challenges that adult-learners who are novices to geoscience confront during instruction; developing and evaluating formative and summative assessments based on this understanding, to facilitate learning geoscience and promote science literacy; and studying the conditions that inhibit and promote the implementation of active learning strategies in post-secondary STEM instruction. She enjoys applying her research to her own teaching practice and to the design and implementation of professional development programs. She believes that the growing community of scholars pursuing Geoscience Education Research has tremendous potential to transform geoscience education and STEM education more broadly through collaborations within and outside our home discipline of geoscience and through all grade levels.

Dr. Arthurs's passion for supporting and mentoring Earth Science educators who teach at all grade levels, pre-kindergarteners to seniors, is illustrated by her facilitation of a week-long middle- and high-school Earth Science Teacher summer workshop for four years, a week-long geoscience Graduate Teaching Assistant summer workshop for ten years, and a semester-long STEM college instructor professional development program for six years. For seven years, she has taught a graduate-level course on post-secondary teaching and learning for STEM graduate students considering a career that involves teaching at the college level. Additionally, she has been involved in informal science education on a regular basis in local libraries and museums for almost 20 years.

Dr. Arthurs served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Geoscience Education for six years. She is currently serving as the Secretary for the Geoscience Education Research Division for the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. In that capacity, she worked on programs for the GER Division's diverse membership including, for example, the "Careers in Academia: Options with your GER background" webinar and the "Making Sense of Methodological and Theoretical Frameworks in Geoscience Education Research" GSA technical sessions.

Education: B.A. Peace & Conflict Studies, University of California at Berkeley; B.S. Geology, University of Hawai`i at Hilo; four 1-year certificates in pedagogy and Ph.D. Civil Engineering & Geological Sciences, University of Notre Dame.

Teaching Experience: Undergraduate level (selected): Physical Geology, Environmental Geology, Exploring Earth for Scientists, Chemistry of Natural Waters, Field Geology. Graduate level: Aqueous Geochemistry, Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Science Education, and Communicating Earth Science with the Public.

Professional Experience (selected): Geophysics Science Aide at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (5 years), Science Teaching Fellow at the University of Colorado at Boulder (3 years), and Associate Editor for JGE (2012-2018).


Statement on why I want to run:
I am interested in the Vice President position because I care deeply about the mentoring and professional development of geoscience education researchers and practitioners who work at all grade levels, including informal education. My experiences working in an afterschool program, a community college, a teaching-focused university, and research universities provide me an intimate perspective on the broad range of instructional situations associated in these settings. My commitment to supporting and mentoring all geoscience education practitioners and researchers is illustrated by, for example, my design and facilitation of week- to semester-long professional development programs for pre-college Earth Science Teachers, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and STEM college instructors for more than thirteen years. I have also designed interactive displays for libraries and museums for almost 20 years.

As my term as Secretary for NAGT's GER Division ends, I am thankful for the opportunity to have served our community in this capacity. As Secretary, I learned more about NAGT and the GER Division; worked with the foremothers of this division such as Nicole LaDue, Karen McNeal, and Katherine Ryker; and pursued my passion for supporting the mentoring and professional development of geoscience education scholars and practitioners at all grade levels. For example, I spearheaded the webinar titled, "Careers in Academia: Options with your GER background." I also was an active co-organizer and co-chair for the GSA technical session titled, "Making Sense of Methodological and Theoretical Frameworks in Geoscience Education Research," for the past two years.

If elected as Vice President, my primary goal would be to further create an inclusive and inviting GER community where all members are listened to and valued, where they are respected and supported in their professional development pursuits, and where we work together to cultivate our community's diverse interests while simultaneously creating common ground for constructive GER collaborations.


Peggy McNeal is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at Towson University. Peggy's research interests include understanding how students use spatial thinking to learn in fluid Earth science disciplines such as atmospheric science, oceanography, and hydrogeology. In addition to these investigations, Peggy is working with colleagues in the atmospheric science education research (ASER) community to develop high-priority research questions that address atmospheric science education, share ideas for teaching innovations in atmospheric science classes, and bring awareness of existing ASER literature to atmospheric science faculty. After teaching middle school for fourteen years, Peggy made the transition to higher education where teaching remains the foundation of her work. At Towson University, Peggy prepares pre-service teachers to be effective geoscience educators, develops and reviews teaching materials for the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), and strives to bring evidence-based active learning strategies into her Earth science classes. Peggy served as the NAGT-TED division secretary/treasurer from 2017 to 2020 and facilitated division events such as a GSA conference session and multiple Earth Educators Rendezvous receptions.

Education: B.S. in Oceanography, United States Naval Academy; M.S. in Geosciences, Mississippi State University; and Ph.D. in Geoscience Education from the Mallinson Institute of Science Education, Western Michigan University.

Teaching Experience:College level courses in physical science, atmospheric science, and Earth and space science. Middle school math and science.

Memberships: GSA, NAGT, AMS, NSTA

Statement on why I want to run:
I am interested in the position of NAGT GER Division Secretary because I would like to work hard to foster high quality geoscience teaching and learning by supporting, promoting, and disseminating cutting-edge geoscience education research. The division is instrumental in doing this by providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas, establishing networks between researchers, facilitating professional development, and connecting geoscience faculty with geoscience education research. As part of the GER division leadership I can help steer the trajectory of geoscience education research by organizing forums for dissemination of research, such as innovative conference sessions, contribute to creating exciting professional development opportunities through webinars, newsletters, and meetings, and support the development of new researchers in our field by sponsoring opportunities for graduate student researchers. I greatly admire the work of those in present and past service to the division and would like to give back to the organization that has been instrumental in my development as a geoscience education scholar and researcher.