The NAGT, GSA, GEO-CUR, Totten, GEO2YC, Stout, and JGE Education Division Awards for 2021

For detailed biographies, visit the NAGT Awards page and the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards page.

Jump to: Christman Award | Miner Award | Shea Award | JEDI Award | Biggs Award | Geo-CUR Award | Totten Awards | Geo2YC Award | Stout Grants | Journal of Geoscience Education Awards

Robert Christman Award

Recognizing individuals who have provided long, distinguished service to NAGT at the national and/or section level

Dallas Rhodes, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA

Dallas D. Rhodes (professor emeritus, Georgia Southern University) has made a sustained and substantial contribution to the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and the Traveling Workshops Program (TWP) over more than a decade. His involvement and leadership have been essential to the success of this workshop program.

In 2017–2020, Rhodes was the chair of the TWP management team. He supervised the staffing of over ten workshops each year, helped organize workshops to address broader institution-wide areas of emphasis, such as diversity and inclusivity, and served as the go-to mentor for many facilitators as they prepared for and implemented their workshops. He brought leadership, wisdom, a sense of humor, and expertise from his work in multiple universities, his experience as department chair, and the many departmental reviews he has conducted. Through his professional publications on geoscience education, the resources he developed, and his legendary colored spreadsheets, his positive impact on NAGT, the TWP, and the geoscience enterprise will continue long beyond his direct involvement in the program. His work has ultimately led to the better education of thousands of geoscience and environmental science students and stronger geoscience departments.

Neil Miner Award

For contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth sciences

Lisa White, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Dr. Lisa White is widely recognized for her long-standing efforts to stimulate interest in the Earth sciences, particularly among groups historically marginalized and underrepresented in the discipline. Throughout her career she has consistently emphasized diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to geoscience education and outreach.

The incredible list of programs she has developed or co-led only scratch the surface of her impact on an array of audiences. For the USGS, White coordinated Minority Participation in the Earth Sciences. While at San Francisco State University, she engaged high school students in research (SF-ROCKS) and secondary school educators on IODP research vessel expeditions (School of Rock). Recently, as director of education and outreach for the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California in Berkeley, she initiated ACCESS, where sense of belonging is prioritized for community college students at the museum.

The impressive effects of her accomplishments reach far beyond her work in programs or with individuals. White has served on numerous boards and committees for organizations in geosciences including contributions to NAGT's Teach the Earth. She has an extensive history of science communication in professional settings and to the public through lectures, panels, interviews, and social media. She is an inspiring role model to colleagues and students. Her passion for raising the visibility of Earth sciences is evident in all that she does.

James Shea Award

Honoring individuals for exceptional writing or editing of Earth science materials of interest to the general public and/or teachers of Earth science

Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

[Citation by Catherine Riihimaki]

Seldom do you read a book that you know will impact your life and your teaching moving forward. I had spoken in classes and with colleagues about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but from the early pages of What the Eyes Don't See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, I realized I had only understood a small fraction of the story. Dr. Mona (her preferred name) adeptly weaves together a description of her pediatric research into blood lead levels in Flint children, a narrative of her collaboration with civil engineer Marc Edwards to connect his water quality data with her health data, an account of the environmental racism that Flint residents have experienced over decades, and a personal history of how her Iraqi family and heritage impacted her work. Dr. Mona illustrates the interdisciplinary nature of wicked problems, while also demonstrating the importance of a firm dedication to geo-ethics, including how she persisted in addressing an acute social problem despite harsh backlash, effectively interacted with her mentees and colleagues, and balanced peer-review publishing with a public's need to know critical information quickly. While Dr. Mona is not formally a geoscientist, I was pleased to nominate her for the Shea Award and to write this citation in recognition of her book that highlights a rich array of problems that our discipline should be addressing.

*New in 2021* The NAGT Excellence in JEDI Award

Honoring colleagues who have made significant contributions to the promotion of justice, equity, diversity, and/or inclusion (JEDI)

Raquel Bryant, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Dr. Raquel Bryant is a Geosciences Future Faculty Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. She is a paleoceanographer and micropaleontologist. Her work integrates paleobiological and geochemical archives to understand how the ocean and its ecosystems responded to intervals of global warmth in the geologic past. She is also interested in developing new methods to cultivate leadership skills among geoscientists.

Bryant is a co-PI on NSF-funded All-ABOARD, which creates a unique professional development experience for inter-generational teams of geoscience leaders, providing them with the tools they need to advance the JEDI goals on their home campuses. She was also the co-organizer of the GSA 2020 Pardee Symposium "The Next Generation of Geoscience Leaders: Strategies for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion." As a graduate student at UMass Amherst, Bryant was committed to graduate student advocacy and was the co-chair of the #Safeatwork Campaign and a co-founder of the BRiDGE Seminar Series.

Biggs Award

Awarded by the Geological Society of America (GSA) for excellence in Earth science teaching by undergraduate faculty who have been teaching full-time for 10 years or fewer

Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Katherine Ryker is an assistant professor of geoscience education research in the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment at the University of South Carolina. She earned her BS in Earth and ocean sciences along with a secondary teaching license from Duke University, and her MS and PhD in geology from North Carolina State University. She's taught for Durham Public Schools, North Carolina State, Eastern Michigan University, and now U of SC, along with Camp Merrie-Woode and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Her primary research focuses on how people teach and learn in introductory geology courses, including how and why instructors have student-centered teaching beliefs and practices, and how students develop interest and learning in the laboratory environment. She is especially interested in how graduate students develop as teachers.

Larry Collins, who nominated her, says of her that "At each institution where Dr. Ryker has contributed, it has been her mission to collaborate with others to continuously improve and develop new courses for multiple audiences including general education students, education majors, and geoscience education researchers.Students and colleagues frequently speak about her strong commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in geology. One of her notable accomplishments at USC was working with a blind student to develop instructional materials that would help make her introductory course an 'out of this world' experience for this student." Ryker, he added,  "welcomes all into science and cultivates an interest in geology for everyone fortunate enough to encounter her."

Geo-CUR Award

Recognizing outstanding undergraduate research mentoring 

Rhawn Denniston, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa

Rhawn Denniston is the William Harmon Norton Professor of Geology and chair of the Environmental Studies program at Cornell College, where he has taught since 2000. He earned a BA in geology from Hamilton College, a MSc in Earth and planetary science from the University of New Mexico, and a PhD in geosciences from the University of Iowa. Denniston teaches classes in paleoclimatology, hydrogeology, and introductory and field geology. He and his students use stalagmites to reconstruct past changes in climate in Australia, Nepal, Portugal, the Ozarks, and Nevada. They also investigate extremely well preserved fossil corals in the Caribbean to better understand past oceanographic conditions.

Totten Awards

Recognizing outstanding faculty and student research emerging from the geoscience education, geocognition, or related fields.

Faculty Awardee

Leilani Arthurs, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Dr. Leilani Arthurs holds a BA in peace and conflict studies from the University of California at Berkeley, a BS in geology from the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, a PhD in civil engineering and geological sciences, and certificates in pedagogy from the University of Notre Dame.  She received postdoctoral training in discipline-based education research (DBER) through Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman's Science Education Initiative. Arthurs is currently a faculty member in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She actively works to prepare undergraduates to be scientifically savvy citizens, future K-12 science teachers, and future scientists. She is also passionate about preparing graduate-level geoscience students to communicate their science with the public, be future college-level geoscience educators, and conduct geoscience education research.  Her research interests include: conceptual challenges to learning Earth processes; novice-to-expert development in the geosciences; and the design and evaluation of STEM faculty professional development programs aimed at enhancing the learning experiences and learning outcomes of students from diverse backgrounds in college-level STEM courses.   

Student Awardee

Meghan L. Cook, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

I am a newly minted PhD in geology from the University of South Florida (USF), specializing in geoscience education. I work at the USF Libraries as a coordinator of library operations in special collections, with a focus on the Florida Environment and Natural History Collection (FLENH). I also teach at St. Petersburg College as an adjunct faculty member in the natural sciences. My research interests focus on aiding in the efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the STEM fields, specifically the geosciences. I use qualitative methods to study the impacts of different learning environments on a student's affective domain. My research informs best practices for a variety of learning modes in STEM curriculums. Current projects include: (1) investigating classroom interventions that lead to positive affective gains in a student's sense of belonging in STEM; (2) developing best practices for field trips to decrease barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion; (3) creating more accessible field trips, e.g., virtual reality field trips; and (4) producing a podcast that interviews geoscientists about their research in an effort to make the science more relatable to a broader community.

Geo2YC Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

Marla Morales, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, VA

For more than five years, Marla Morales has shared her passion and dedication for getting students excited about their planet by teaching introductory-level historical and physical geology courses. She's taught face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses, and contributed talks to the Geology Club seminar series. She has been an active member of the "DC Metro" SAGE 2YC team over the past two years, helping advance inclusivity and efficacy of science teaching and helping organize and lead workshops for college and regional faculty.

Morales writes about her teaching:

"Every time I teach, I want my students to see the scientist, the teacher, the female, the adventurer, the minority, the person who followed a passion for geoscience and made a career. I bring into the classroom my experience of working around the world in the oil and gas industry and my current work in the nuclear industry as a means to discuss 'hot topics' that are sometimes difficult. I want them to learn the importance of geoscience in their everyday life. [Because] funding and opportunity often pose difficulties when it comes to exploring, I teach an online, a hybrid, and a traditional lecture/lab. [It would be nice to be able] to provide students (maybe even their families) with the opportunity to see the geology around them. For example, a lunch and learn on the formation of Great Falls while having a picnic at Great Falls. Or exploring the national mall and discussing the building blocks of various buildings."

Dorothy Lalonde Stout Professional Development Grants

Supporting the professional ventures of Earth science faculty, teachers, and students

Pamela Baker, Alma Bryant High School, Irvington, AL

Pamela Baker is a marine science, Earth science, and environmental management teacher at Alma Bryant High School in Irvington, Alabama. She believes that students learn best when they are engaged in hands-on activities with real-world application. This grant will be used to purchase Earth science lab kits to facilitate her teaching of meteorology, astronomy, and geology.

LaChandra Hooper, Sheppard Air Force Base Elementary, Sheppard AFB, TX

LaChandra Hooper earned a BS in communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a master's of education: curriculum and instruction from California Coast University, where she is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational psychology. She takes the idea of planting seeds literally and figuratively. Her vocation ensures that each student who crosses her path has the opportunity to observe the world around them as they learn about earth science with real world application. The Dorothy Stout Award will be used to introduce the water and plant cycle in a whole new perspective by incorporating a hydraulic gardening system that can be used indoors and outdoors.

Alex Ullrich, Georgia State University - Perimeter College, Atlanta, GA

Alex Ullrich is currently a geology and environmental science instructor at Georgia State University – Perimeter College. He completed his undergraduate degree at Appalachian State University and graduate studies at the University of Florida, after which he spent time as a stunt performer at Walt Disney World and adjunct geology instructor in Orlando, FL. Ullrich is enthusiastic about the outdoors and works to make earth sciences more accessible, active, and inclusive for his students. This award will be used in part to attend the 2021 NAGT Early Career Workshop and to complete an augmented reality sandbox table for use with students in geology lab classes.

Journal of Geoscience Education Awards

Outstanding Paper

"Nothing About Us Without Us": The Perspectives of Autistic Geoscientists on Inclusive Instructional Practices in Geoscience Education, Journal of Geoscience Education, 68:4, 302-310, DOI:10.1080/10899995.2020.1768017

COLE G. KINGSBURY, University of Pretoria, Hatfield, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa

ELIZABETH C. SIBERT, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

ZACHARY KILLINGBACK, Durham University, Durham, United Kingdom

CHRISTOPHER L. ATCHISON, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Outstanding Reviewer

Nicole Ladue, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL




The NAGT, GSA, GEO-CUR, Totten, GEO2YC, Stout, and JGE Education Division Awards for 2021 -- Discussion  

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