WMU Faculty Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

June 29, 2017
WMU Faculty Awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for project linking Reflective Practice of Science and Earth Science Teaching

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WMU faculty have been awarded an NSF grant in the amount of $365,883. The principal investigator is Dr. Heather L. Petcovic, Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. She will be assisted by co-principal investigators Dr. Todd Ellis, Assistant Professor in the Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Dr. Paul Vellom, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Studies, Dr. Stephen Kaczmarek, Assistant Professor of Geosciences, and Dr. Steven B. Bertman, Professor of Chemistry. The award starts the summer of 2017 and will end the summer of 2020.

The project receiving funding is entitled “GP-EXTRA: Fostering Interest in Earth Science Teaching Through the Reflective Practice of Science.” The project “tests the idea that the best way to engage children in the knowledge and practices of geoscientists is for their teachers to have direct experience with scientific research.” The project will engage three cohorts of eight students majoring in science or in K-12 education from WMU, Lake Michigan College, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College in a four phase process that will give them experience learning about the science of surface water quality and lake systems, practicing science during a six week investigation of a local urban lake, teaching science during a middle school summer camp, and thinking about how science is practiced and how best to teach that to children during a ten week follow up course.

The project has an emphasis on recruiting students of color and women to help diversify the Earth Science educator workforce, and to inspire a future generation of diverse Earth Scientists. Please visit the NSF Award Abstract for this project to learn more.