FROM THE EDITOR: Zooming Along ...

Editor-in-Chief Redina Finch, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL.

The fall semester is well underway and classes are... interesting. I'm using Zoom to conduct face-to-face classes so students don't actually have to be face-to-face. I think it's working out pretty well, but the first round of exams is coming up. I'll know for sure then. Fortunately, my students have a great attitude and they are grateful to be back in school. That makes the teaching a whole lot easier!

We are devoting the major part of this issue to our amazing award winners: 20 Outstanding Earth Science Teachers who are among the dedicated and hardworking faculty educating today's K-12 students about the world around them — as well as a number of the women and men who have inspired, informed, and/or assisted them and their peers and facilitated their own growth as Earth scientists. If you know any of them, be sure to congratulate them!

We also have a very interesting article on dragon scale ice in the Antarctic and how one educator turned a research expedition into a STEAM opportunity by pairing art with science in a very creative way. The student artwork that resulted is fantastic.

One of the bigger issues in the geosciences is the field's lack of diversity. Our second author describes how using peer mentoring, near-peer mentoring, and an undergraduate thesis requirement can boost the confidence of underrepresented minority students as they pursue research opportunities. Student feedback shows that this was a very successful strategy.

As you work through the school year, don't forget about the great resources available on the NAGT website. I recently saw an updated version of a mineral identification activity. It's amazing what we can do online. Speaking of which . . . I'm looking for more articles for the January issue of ITT. If you have an interesting project or teaching strategy that will present well in what will be a totally online issue, let me know. In this time of COVID we could all use more strategies for teaching this way. — Redina

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