6 July - 14 July 2008
Gulf Coast Repository, College Station, Texas
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School of Rock 2008

Using Ocean Cores to Explore Past Climate Change

Deep Earth Academy (Consortium for Ocean Leadership) and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program United States Implementing Organization (IODP-USIO) organized a teacher workshop at the IODP Gulf Coast Core Repository. This year’s theme was “Using Ocean Cores to Explore Past Climate Change.” During School of Rock 2008, teachers were mentored and taught by scientists who are actively engaged in IODP research and by USIO education and technical staff. In addition, staff provided guidance and content related to hands-on laboratory activities. SOR 2008 followed SOR 2007, which also took place at the Gulf Coast Repository, and SOR 2005, which took place onboard the scientific research drillship JOIDES Resolution.




Leslie Peart became Education Director for the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI; now Consortium for Ocean Leadership) in August 2004, adding another twist to her diverse career as a science teacher and marine educator. In her most recent position, as the Director of Interpretive Education at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, she directed thirty to forty staff in developing and implementing a wide array of daily learning activities for the Aquarium’s 2.1 million yearly guests. Before Shedd, Leslie held positions as the first education director for the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska and as education specialist at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, expanding on thirteen years in south Texas secondary science classrooms. Her experience ranges from educational television production, museum theatre and curriculum development to teacher education, undergraduate teaching and field guiding experiences in Texas, Mexico and Alaska’s Inside Passage. An avid sailor, Leslie has raced and explored the waters of the western Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi Bay, the Gulf of Alaska, Resurrection Bay and Lake Michigan. Ask her about the Wombat!


Sharon Katz-Cooper started at JOI in March 2007. Prior to joining JOI, Sharon was the educator on the core team developing the Smithsonian’s Ocean Hall, a large new exhibit set to open in September 2008. She has also worked as a contractor doing education work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and has a background in informal and conservation education. She learned about JOI through collaborations for the Ocean Hall and sailed on the first School of Rock expedition in November 2005.

In between projects (and making dinner), she writes children’s books and magazine articles on science and social studies topics. She has written on such diverse subjects as ocean life, hats, France, the periodic table, and Aristotle. She loves to cook and bake, dance, travel and hang out with her boys: husband Jason and sons Reuven and Judah. She has traveled, both for work and play, to Madagascar, China, Israel, Venezuela, Japan, Europe, and many parts of Canada and the U.S.

Sharon is a native to this area, having grown up in Washington, DC and Silver Spring, MD. After 18 years here, she was lured away by the Ivy League; Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University and a Masters in Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is also pursuing a graduate certificate in early childhood education from George Mason University.


Kristen St. John is an Associate Professor in the Geology & Environmental Science Department at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Kristen keeps firm footing in both geoscience education and research. She strives to make geoscience content accessible and inviting to non-majors by translating scientific research results into active learning exercises for the classroom. Her marine geology research niche is in developing long-term records of ice-rafting and exploring their paleo-environmental and climatic implications. She served as a sedimentologist on ODP Expeditions 163 and 173, and for IODP 302, the Arctic Coring Expedition. Even more exciting though was being part of the first Education Expedition – the original School of Rock in 2005. Kristen is the Chair of the Education & Outreach subcommittee of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Scientific Ocean Drilling (whew – that’s a long one!). She is also an associate editor of the Journal of Geoscience Education. Following undergraduate studies in Geology at Furman University (1992), Kristen received her MS (1995) and PhD (1998) in Geological Sciences from Ohio State University. She met her husband Larry (Navy Chief & UVA electronic technician), while on board ODP Leg 173. They have two children: Helen (age 8), who proves smarter, faster, and more charming than her parents daily, and Will (age 4), our future firefighter & Jedi knight.


For the past two years, Stefan has served as a logging operations and product development engineer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

Before enjoying the leisurely pace of academic life, Stefan spent five years in the Gulf of Mexico oilfield as a logging engineer – then in sales – focused on deepwater exploration and well placement. Prior to that he spent time as a geologist with Syncrude, mining the Alberta oilsands. He sailed as logging-while-drilling engineer on ODP Legs 204 and 209, on gas hydrate drilling cruises in Japan and India, and helped drill and evaluate more than 50 oil and gas wells.

Stefan believes educators play a particularly important and pressing role in generating interest in applied earth sciences and helping prepare the next generation of mining and energy industry geoscientists.

Stefan earned a BSc in Geophysics from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and will soon complete an MSc in Technology Management from Columbia. He enjoys volleyball in Central Park, modeling with Lego, and traveling to watch soccer.


In my 12 years of scientific ocean drilling with ODP and IODP, I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Antarctica to investigate the history of the Antarctic ice (3 times!), to the west of Ireland to study giant reefs built by deep-water corals, and to the Bahamas to look at sea-level changes over geological time. I can highly recommend the view from the top of the derrick while going through the Panama Canal, and sailing into Capetown at dawn — this really is a very good job!

I wasn’t aware of this when I joined up, but my grandfather used to work on the cruise liners between Liverpool (my home town) and New York (my adopted home town), and his father was a sailor too. So the sea-legs run in my family.

When not at sea, I am based at the Borehole Group at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University in New York. We do the downhole logging for IODP: sending instruments down into the boreholes to measure rock properties such as porosity, density, and so on. It is the reverse of what happens in the labs on the drill ship: instead of putting rock samples inside instruments, we put instruments inside the rock itself.

By way of outreach, I have written about my experiences of science in Antarctica in a blog for Popular Mechanics magazine, given guest lectures on a pleasure cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula, made a couple of presentations at Mike Passow’s Earth-2-Class workshops, and been involved with the summer intern program at Lamont. I’m looking forward to School of Rock and learning more about teaching tomorrow’s marine geologists!


John Firth is the IODP-USIO Curator and has been with the Program since 1989. He has served as ODP/IODP’s Curator since 1997, overseeing four core repositories in Texas, California, New York, and Germany, and has sailed as Staff Scientist on ODP Legs 131, 136, 143, 151, 157, 159T, 168, and 169S. John received his PhD in Geology from Florida State University in 1989. While still a PhD student, John sailed as shipboard paleontologist on ODP Legs 105 and 126. John’s interests include biostratigraphy, paleoecology and evolution of late Mesozoic to Cenozoic calcareous nannofossils and dinoflagellates, and their application towards geologic problems; palynofacies and thermal alteration analysis of kerogen; biostratigraphy and paleoecology of ichthyoliths and other marine vertebrate fossils; and Arctic and North Atlantic Cretaceous and Paleogene paleoceanography.


Jörg Geldmacher became IODP Staff Scientist and Expedition Project Manager in January 2007 after he sailed on Expedition 309 (“Superfast Spreading Rate Crust 2”, the second part of a multi-expedition project to drill a single hole through the entire oceanic upper crust into the former magma chamber). Jörg is an Igneous Geochemist by training and received his Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Kiel (Germany). His main area of research is oceanic intra-plate volcanism (e.g., hotspots, ocean islands, plume-ridge interaction, origin of Large Igneous Provinces). In February 2008 he was appointed as Adjunct Professor at the Department of Geology at Texas A&M University.


I started my career in geology expecting to head straight to the oil patch after completing my undergraduate degree in geology. Late in my sophomore year, however, I took a required course in igneous petrology and the professor and subject matter were so engaging that during that single class I changed my goal to devoting my career to academics by learning and sharing ideas about volcanology and igneous petrology.

Between my Masters and PhD programs, I spent a year at the Nordic Volcanological Institute in Iceland as a Fulbright Fellow. While there I began a long term project attempting to understand the mechanics and environmental impact of large basaltic fissure eruptions, starting with the largest eruption of this type in historic time (Eldgja, 934 AD). For my PhD from the Ore Petrology and Geochemistry program at Purdue University, I investigated the plumbing system of a volcanic arc in the Pakistani Himalayas, followed by a postdoc in geophysics relating the seismic velocities of the rocks from the Kohistan Arc to the seismic structure of global active arcs. I joined the Ocean Drilling Program in 1993 after sailing as a scientist on Leg 147 looking at the lower ocean crust exposed at Hess Deep. During my tenure in scientific ocean drilling I have been the Staff Scientist/Project Manager for seven expeditions investigating the nature of the ocean crust and upper mantle and three other expeditions contrasting the various manifestations of seafloor hydrothermal mineralization systems. During several of these expeditions, we introduced the discipline of subseafloor microbiology to our science program and I participated in executing the first expedition in the history of scientific ocean drilling dedicated to investigating the diversity of the subseafloor microbiological community. I am excited by the opportunity to share a learning experience with all the participants in the School of Rock.


My interest in the Earth sciences started when I was growing up in Greece with its mountains, volcanic islands, and earthquakes. I have worked for ODP/IODP since 1995 as Graphics designer, Prime data coordinator, Editor, Yeoperson (Expeditions 311 and 316), and Web administrator. Before joining ODP, I worked as a researcher at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia; at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where I got my Ph.D. in Geophysics in 1991. While in graduate school, I met my husband Gary Acton (also a geophysicist) and have been moving ever since. For now, Gary, our son Alex, and our cats call College Station home. [The photo was taken in July 2007 on the island of Crete in Greece.]


I serve as an Associate Professor of Science Education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture and the ODASES Science Education Specialist at Texas A&M. I have been a practicing scientist and junior high science teacher as well as teaching science content and science education course at the university level. My first job out of college was at a Creosote plant. We used three main preservatives – creosote, pentachlorophenol, and Copper Chromated Arsenic (CCA). I was fairly happy as the guy responsible for all areas of quality control, until I was promoted to the environmental safety officer where I found out that I was routinely working with over 100 different hazardous chemicals. I decided that teaching junior high science couldn’t be that dangerous, so I quit and went back to school. I found out two things, one I paid more attention when I paid for school and I really liked learning. I ultimately ended up with a B.S.F. in Forest Management with an emphasis in Wood Technology from Stephen F. Austin State University; Science Composite Teaching Certification, a M.Ed. in Secondary Education, and a M.S. in Chemistry from Sam Houston State University; and an Ed.D. in Science Education from the University of Houston. As a university faculty member, my research interests include a general interest in technology-supported learning in math and science; science content learning; Project-Based Learning (PBL), and program evaluation. I am married to a high school science teacher and former librarian and we have a daughter in the ninth grade. We travel/camp when we can. Recent trips include the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, four corners region, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Smokies. My favorite sports are golf – participatory – and baseball – observatory (Go Astros!).


My oceanography career began at the age of 10 through participation in my elementary school gifted program. We were assigned the 4th grade equivalent of a thesis project, and I selected Oceanography (although I’m still not sure how a kid born and raised in Cincinnati, a 10-hour drive from the nearest coast, even knew the word oceanography). Within a few days I was a card-carrying member of the Cousteau Society and subscriber to Oceanus. And I had declared my future career to be oceanography. Later I fell in love with geology after taking Earth Science during the 8th grade, and chose to major in Geological Sciences in college. I attended Brown University, then went on to the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill for a M.S. in Marine Science (1998), and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences (2002).

I have been an Assistant Professor of Oceanography at Texas A&M for nearly 4 years. My field of specialty within Oceanography is Paleoceanography, which makes me largely a geologist. As a Paleoceanographer, I use the chemical and fossil content of deep-sea sediments to investigate ancient climate. This research has enabled me to become involved with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP; www-odp.tamu.edu/) and the new Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP; www.iodp-usio.org/). I have had the spectacular opportunity to sail on two ODP expeditions aboard the JOIDES Resolution already, one to the northwestern Pacific Ocean and the other to the southeastern Atlantic Ocean. In addition, I sailed in the South Pacific aboard the R/V Melville during the spring of 2005 as part of a survey cruise for a prospective IODP expedition.

However, research isn’t the only exciting aspect of academic oceanography. I truly value my role as an educator, whether in the classroom, in the lab, or in the field. And I am thrilled to be part of the School of Rock 2007! Clearly my science teachers played a tremendous role in shaping my perceptions of science and now I have the opportunity to work with science educators on the cutting edge of curriculum development.


I’ve been teaching at UMass-Amherst since 1985. I grew up in the Midwest (Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) where I developed a boyhood interest in fossils. That interest has never faded; I’m still an avid rock hound to this day. Pursuing a geology degree at Northern Illinois University seemed like a no-brainer after high school even though I never had an Earth science course. I had the opportunity to do field work in Antarctica as an undergrad and stayed on at NIU for a Masters degree and two more trips “to the ice”. I did a Ph.D. at the University of Colorado where I really got into the geology of the Colorado Plateau; about half of my research still deals with Cretaceous age strata and microfossils from the west. As a first-year Ph.D. student I had the opportunity to sail on the Glomar Challenger with Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 79. After Colorado, my wife and I moved to Cape Cod Massachusetts for a year-long stint as a post-doc at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before moving on to the University of Massachusetts. I have participated in 5 Ocean Drilling Program legs between 1985 and 2003 (101, 130, 165, 198, and 210). My research focuses on biostratigraphy, paleoceanography, tectonics and climate, and the evolutionary history of planktic foraminifera.

In the last ten years, I have become keenly interested in pedagogy and how we teach Earth science. My teaching, research, and service are all interconnected. In collaboration with Richard Yuretich, I have been exploring new interactive techniques to teach and engage students in large, non-laboratory introductory science courses. For example, we’ve instituted daily in-class problem-solving exercises and have successfully utilized two-stage multiple-choice exams. We published an in-class book entitled “Investigating the Ocean, An Interactive Guide to the Science of Oceanography”. I’ve also introduced student-active learning into my smaller, advanced geology courses and seminars. I teach a broad spectrum of courses ranging from “Introductory Oceanography”, to geology core courses such as “History of the Earth” and “Introductory Field Geology”, to advanced courses and seminars in the areas of micropaleontology, paleoceanography, and paleoclimatology. I look forward to learning more about innovative teaching from School of Rock shipmates!


Buck feels learning never stops. To him it is a continuous circle of self learning and new experiences that can then be shared with his colleagues and his students. It comes back around to him as he peaks interest in varying areas of the world of science for all those around him. This past summer he attended a Physics of Music workshop in California; he experienced weightlessness at the Educators Space Camp in Alabama; he operated (moved) the new Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald Observatory as part of a Tufts University Seminar and presented at the ESET (Empowering Science Education through Technology) in Texas. Calvin is a life long resident of San Antonio, Texas. He has taught at John Jay High School for 34 years and has taught summer classes in geology at St. Mary’s University. He received his degree in geology at St. Mary’s University, and with his composite teaching certification, he has taught marine biology, geology, astronomy, meteorology, conceptual physics, and IPC. His leadership skills are evident in the numerous workshops he conducts for students and teachers. He has been the Director of Summer Leadership Workshops for the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals and Student Councils. He is the anchor for the school campus as he coordinates the school wide calendar. He is on hand to assist the John Jay staff and students along with the staff and students of the Science and Engineering Academy. This multi-faceted educator still has time to devote to public television as one of the cameramen for special events.

Buck was a participant in the first School of Rock in 2005, and helped staff the JOI booth at the 2007 National Science Teachers Association meeting.



Joy is a pre-service teacher who is currently working towards her BS in Geology and Masters in Secondary Education. She attends James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and grew up on Long Island, NY. Growing up on Long Island and being surrounded by the elements of the beach has always intrigued her. Attending science camp as a middle school student further enhanced Joy’s interest in science. Over the years, Joy has observed her mother’s career as a middle school science teacher, and eagerly awaits a teaching position of her own.


Since 2003, I (Anica is pronounced Uh-nee-sa) have been teaching 6th grade science and English/Writing classes at Pound Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska. Prior to that, I taught 10 years in an elementary setting. I love teaching 6th graders. These students are so inquisitive about their world and have a strong desire to soak up all the experiences placed in front of them.

I have partnered with several science programs that enhance my teaching experiences for my students and myself. For three years I was involved with the Project Fulcrum program at the University of Nebraska. This program teams college graduate student scientists from the university, who are involved in various science research projects, with a teacher in our district and together we plan and implement science lessons. During the 2007-2008 school year, I was very lucky to be part of the ANDRILL Project Circle through Louise Huffman, Education Outreach Coordinator for ANDRILL. As scientists continued their second season of drilling for core samples in Antarctica, in our classroom we were making connections with other classrooms around the globe through the Project Circle online message board. We shared our ANDRILL activities, our climate and culture differences. I also coordinated the demonstration of ANDRILL flexhibit activities by my students at a city science discovery day at our museum in February. The experiences I receive at the School of Rock will definitely enhance the Earth’s Changing Surface unit I teach in the fall.

I have been married to Jeff for 34 years this July 4th. We have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and an adorable five-year-old granddaughter. My husband and I love to travel by car so we can stop along the way and see all the sights. We have restored a 1967 GTO and a 1967 Firebird Convertible, which we drive for fun. I love the ocean and my favorite place to visit and enjoy is Carmel, California. One other fun fact about me is that I used to be a clown and I entertained at birthday parties. I am thrilled to be part of this adventure and bring back all kinds of new discoveries for my students.


During my 15 years in government and corporate positions in environmental protection, I inspected sewage treatment plants for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, drafted environmental law for the NJ State Legislature, and developed coastal and wildlife protection plans for the Marine Spill Response Corporation, the world’s largest oil spill emergency response company. Then I went into teaching. Now I work twice as hard for half as much money! My “real world” experience helps me in the classroom where making science relevant really counts with students. This is my tenth year teaching Earth Science to 8th graders.

A few summers ago I spent two weeks studying Hawaiian volcanoes with Project Lava. Last summer I spent two weeks on an Earthwatch expedition entitled, “Mammals of Nova Scotia,” collecting data to determine the effects of climate change. We captured and released small mammals, counted and collected scat, counted and identified trees, and built an outhouse. Now I’m hooked on these types of summer adventures. After School of Rock, I’ll be on NOAA’s ship Rainier mapping the Alaskan coastline as a member of the Teacher at Sea Program.

I hold a BS in Environmental Protection and Management from Columbia University and an MS in Environmental Geography from Rutgers University. Earlier this month, I received an Excellence in Science Teaching award from Rutgers University’s chapter of Sigma Xi. I’ve been inspired to pursue a doctoral degree in science education and hope to begin this coming year. I’m looking forward to spending time with educated adults!



After growing up outside the “Windy City,” I moved to warmer Florida in 1990. However, it is not the Florida that most people think of. Here in Highlands County, we actually have more cows than people. I live in a rural city called Sebring. The population doubles every winter and triples during the week of the International 12 Hours of Sebring Race. Our latest claim to fame is that we were within 20 miles of the center of three hurricanes in a six-week time span. (Chicago doesn’t seem so windy anymore).

I attended the University of South Florida and received a Bachelors of Science in Math Education. However, I couldn’t find a math position so I ended up in Science and am very thankful for it! I have been teaching 8th Grade Integrated Science at Hill-Gustat Middle School for the last twelve years and have loved every minute of it. I have also taught math, from intensive to algebra, and social studies. I like to keep things interesting. I have a passion for learning and strive to instill that same passion in my students. I know that I have the best job in the world!

I have been very blessed over the years to have some amazing experiences outside of the classroom. I have participated in Marine Biology workshops in the Keys, attended workshops at Kennedy Space Center and Langley Research Center, went to the FDA in D.C., have flown on two Zero-G (weightless) flights, and was selected as one of the top five finalists for Florida Teacher of the Year, and now I will be participating in the School of Rock. Does it get any better????

Outside of school, I love to bike, read, be outside, take photos, cook, and relax with my two four-legged kids, my cats. My next goal in life is to sky dive… some day that will happen.


Louise McMinn is an eighth grade Earth science teacher at Scofield Magnet Middle School in Stamford, Connecticut. She is passionate about science education. As her daughters completed their college education, she began to spend her summers engaged in professional development. She is an Armada Project master teacher, and spent some time in South Central Alaska last summer participating in the STEEP project. She has participated in environmental workshops in Colorado and has explored Yellowstone National Park with the Lunar and Planetary Society. She is also working with Soundwaters, Stamford’s local Long Island Sound watershed education organization and the soon to be opened Connecticut Science Center.

Louise started her teaching career as a middle school special education teacher. As she spent more time teaching science, she changed to full time science instruction. She currently administers the after school program at Scofield and involves the students in many science after school programs. Her goal is to have all of her students become informed citizens, and to realize how science is interwoven into many aspects of their lives.


Sylvia got her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Texas Wesleyan University and her Master’s from Texas Woman’s University. In the Ft. Worth Public Schools, she taught junior high earth science, taking students on field trips to look for fossils and “cool” rocks after school and on holidays. When she taught at North Side High School, she and her husband would take students on weekend field trips to the Big Thicket to study biology. In the 80s, while taking time off from teaching, she had three adorable children, Derek, Stefanie (Aggie’05), and Dustin (hopefully Aggie ’10), and in her spare time she worked in her husband’s dental office as a dental assistant and office manager.

She has done public relations and event planning in addition to fashion modeling in Ft. Worth, Dallas, and in Bethesda, Maryland, where she also taught seventh grade science. Currently she is in her ninth year as a seventh grade science teacher in Naperville, Illinois. She became associated with Andrill last year and was asked to join Project Iceberg, a group that has allowed her students to reach out to other states, countries, and the local public and hopefully make a difference in their views of our changing world. Her students have been involved with Andrill projects since September, presenting climate change/flexhibits at a countywide science teacher’s conference, to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry visitors, and have participated in an IPY/Climate Change videoconference with other interested students and teachers from around the world. The students are also engaged in various venues dealing with climate change and global warming in the Naperville community. The students are currently producing a video they will be sharing with a local high school and different interested countries. When not involved with the students, Sylvia enjoys traveling to Texas to see her family where she loves playing with Avery, her 3 year old granddaughter. Traveling, all outdoor activities, sporting events, reading murder mysteries and visiting with family and friends round out her interests.


I have just finished my 31st year of teaching. During those years I have taught everything from 5th to 8th grade, but my current teaching position is middle school (grades 6-8) science and math at St. Bernard School in Omaha, Nebraska. I also serve as the coach for our academic team as well as sponsor for the students that attend the city wide, regional and state science fairs. I have also served as the teacher representative to the Omaha Catholic School board where I worked on the policy committee. I most recently served on the committee for developing the science standards and curriculum for the Omaha Archdiocese, which covers the eastern third of Nebraska.

I am thrilled to be a part of the School of Rock, yet I am not a newcomer to summer programs for teachers. I have also been privileged to attend the NASA NEW program at Dryden Flight Research facility, the Maury Project at the US Naval Academy, and the Research Based Science Education (RBSE) program that was sponsored by NOAO and Kitt Peak Observatories.

I was blessed to be a past recipient of the Teacher of the Year award for the Omaha Archdiocese and received the Creative Educator Award from ConAgra for science curriculum.

When not taking classes or teaching I enjoy camping and traveling, especially to national parks and wilderness areas. I have just celebrated my 32nd wedding anniversary and have four children ranging in age from 28 to 19. I also have a 3 yr old grandson that has captured my heart.


I first got interested in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s (IODP) research after taking an oceanography class with Dr. Kristen St. John, a professor at James Madison University who has a long history with IODP. From this summer’s training, I hope to be able to bring back to my high school students the necessary knowledge and contacts that will provide those who are willing the opportunity to conduct real-world research prior to going to college.

As for teaching, I’ve been an educator for over 13 years after working in business for five. During my education career, I spent 7.5 years teaching elementary students in Jacksonville, Florida; four years teaching middle school (sixth grade science) in Elkton, Virginia; and the most recent two teaching Earth Science and a geology elective at Central High School of Woodstock, Virginia.

Academically, I have a Bachelor’s from the University of South Carolina, a Master’s in Education from the University of North Florida, and over 30 additional graduate hours in the Earth Sciences, most from James Madison University, but also including the American Meteorological Society’s DataStreme Atmosphere and Water in the Earth System. Additionally, I’ve attended the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Academy and have completed the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers certification. As for awards, I’ve been selected as Teacher of the Year by my peers at two different schools and I am the current National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding Earth Science Teacher for Virginia. Furthermore, I helped Elkton Middle School win Virginia Naturally School Recognition for their environmental efforts during my last two years there.

During my “free time” at school, I sponsor the freshman class and the Backtracks Trail Club, our school’s outdoors club. With the latter, I lead high school students on hikes in and around the Northern Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah National Park.

Outside of school, I like to spend time with my two daughters and wife, cook, camp, hike, and watch NASCAR and baseball. It is to my family that I am most appreciative for allowing me to attend this wonderful opportunity.


I am Meredith Keelan, born and raised in Westchester, Illinois. I graduated High School from Proviso West, in Hillside, Illinois and proceeded to Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. I graduated from Wartburg in 1976 with a BS in Biology/Physical Ed. I spent the next year working for the Iowa Public Interest Research Group at the University of Northern Iowa. There I participated in the writing of the Iowa Bottle Bill which placed a deposit on bottles and helped in preserving the Upper Iowa River from contamination by a proposed feedlot.

I moved to Texas in 1983 where I have taught for the past 29 years. While here at Van Vleck ISD I have initiated several unique classes to our curriculum. For the past 15 years we have had a marine biology class for junior high students. These students participated in the collection of water quality data for the Lower Colorado River Authority at 3 different sites. We also participated in the National Marine Debris Monitoring Project with Ocean Conservancy collecting beach trash and sorting it for ocean vs. land based debris. Currently these students are participating with the Bureau of Economic Geology at University of Texas in monitoring beach dune restoration. During this time I have instituted a 7th grade Aquatics class, where students go out to a local pond and conduct biodiversity, water quality and other research projects. The final addition is the building of a Pond, Green house and butterfly garden on the campus for our 6th grade students to learn observation skills and begin writing about environmental topics. These classes have now moved with me to the High school, where my biology classes take “beach trips” and continue the research.

In 2003 I was a Teacher in the Field Participant aboard the R/V Maurice Ewing, which conducted a 7-week seismic survey of the Caribbean Margin. This was a truly unique experience living aboard a ship with 45 other people and literally working 24/7.

In 2006 I was recognized by the Colorado River Foundation as an Honoree, and one of the only teachers ever recognized, for my work with students on environmental issues and our beach research projects.

For me education is a passion and I pass this passion on to most of my students.


Hello, my name is Carolyn Kurtz and I was born and raised in Northeastern Ohio. I love the change of seasons here! The snow can be a bit trying at times, but as long as you know how to drive in it you’ll be okay. I come from a large family. I have four brothers and three sisters; 20 nieces and nephews total. Christmas = gift exchange, for obvious reasons.

One reason I love this part of Ohio is our wonderful park systems, both metropolitan and national. I’ve spent many hours volunteering for the park systems, assisting with the yearly coyote census, as well as frog surveys, etc. One year I actually logged in the most hours for frog surveying—120+ hours and I really enjoyed it. I’ve also volunteered for our local Mobile Meals organization for the past 5 years as a grocery getter.

All scientific disciplines interest me, and I consider myself a life-long learner—one thing I constantly stress to my students by word and action. Bird watching is a favorite hobby of mine, and I look forward to adding to my “lifetime list” while in Texas. I’ve been brushing up on the birds I’m likely to see there.

I’m the proverbial nontraditional student—spent most of my 30s completing first a Master’s degree in Biology and then a Master’s in Education. I’ve been teaching Honors Biology and Oceanography at Stow-Munroe Falls High School for the past 7 years and I love my students and colleagues—just not the politics.

The best trip I’ve ever taken was an end-of-semester 11-day trip to St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica for a Tropical Field Biology class at Akron University. We worked at a field station there. It was awesome! It was great to snorkel, hike the country, and see the real Jamaica and not just the tourist attractions. Our last night there was spent on the beach at a village reggae party; an absolutely incredible experience and I’d love to go back some day.

I have a cat named Miu, and over the years I’ve rescued my share of other cats. I’m known for having a rather dry sense of humor, but I can be silly at times. I am so excited about attending this workshop, and my selection for attendance has made me a sort of celebrity around here.


I currently teach Marine Science, Biology, AP Environmental Science, GIS, AVID, and Forensics in a science and technology charter school myself and three other administrators founded two years ago. Prior to this challenge I took a break from teaching middle and high school science and coordinated a grant that provided science content and pedagogy training for teachers in rural and small school districts. Education is a second career for me. I spent a good part of my professional career developing analytical instrumentation that is used in the environmental, petrochemical, and energy production fields. In my “spare” time, I teach teacher and administrator credentialing classes, specifically in technology. I also breed tropical fish, scuba dive, spend way too much time messing with computers, compete in martial arts, and I am completing my second Masters degree.

My students are heavily involved in field research and competitions. I am the coach for our schools National Ocean Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, and Remote Operated Vehicle teams. We have ongoing research projects in the Gulf Of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and hope to expand the project to include the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary.

I have the greatest job in the world. Every morning I get to go and do real science with students who are interested and engaged. It never gets boring around here, and I am really looking forward to bringing more authentic science and oceanography to my students.


I currently teach a new course of earth and space science at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, KS. I’m certified in biology and earth science but have primarily taught courses in biology for the past eight years. This transition is exciting for me and has given me the opportunity to build the program from the ground up. I received my BSED in Biology from Pittsburg State University and recently completed the MS in Science Education program from Montana State University.

When not in the classroom, I’m a sponsor for Science Club, Green Society and Scholars’ Bowl. Creating learning opportunities out of the classroom is an adventure for me. My students and I have explored caves in Missouri and collected invertebrates from nearby rivers. This summer I am taking several students on their first trip to Badlands National Park to study geology, flora and fauna of the region. I also spend time educating students about Kansas flora and fauna.

My hobbies include hiking with my wife and children, collecting rocks and traveling. I’m also addicted to the Discovery Channel! I look forward to this opportunity and being able to integrate more ocean science into my classroom.


When I was young all I wanted to do was teach elementary school.

While I was working in my BA in elementary education, I took a geology class and began my life long passion with geology.

I completed my degree in elementary education and taught in elementary education 8 years. All this time I could not stop thinking about geology, so I went back to school to get my geology degree.

After getting my degree, I began work in a private company working on a government contract. During this period I worked both as a geologist and a hydrogeologist.

After the contract was completed, my husband and I moved to Washington State. While there, I attended The Evergreen State College and received a BS in Environmental Studies. I had the wonderful experience of helping design a Washington State Park in northern Washington State.

In 1996, we moved back to California, where I started working for the Los Angeles Unified School District. I currently have credentials in Geoscience, Biology, and Chemistry.

In 2007 I returned to California State University Northridge to obtain my Masters degree in geology. I have been fortunate to take several classes from the well known marine geologist Dr. Kathleen Marsaglia.

I am excited to participate in the 2008 School of Rock.


Betty is currently a junior high and secondary science and technology teacher in the St. Paul Island School, which is a small K-12 school with less than 100 students. In the past she has taught art, journalism, math, small engines and social studies when needed. She is also the technology and vocational education coordinator for the district. Her degrees are in biology and education from Eastern Oregon State College and she has done work on a Masters in Fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where her thesis involved the water quality of the lakes in Katmai National Park on the Alaska Peninsula.

Betty has worked as an observer on fishing vessels in the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound, a cook in mineral exploration camps in remote areas of Alaska, a starving artist in Southeast Alaska, a teacher in Imperial Valley, California, a housewife and mother in a remote logging camp in Alaska and other jobs too numerous to mention. She has been teaching in the Pribilof Islands for the last twelve years where the Bering Sea is often the subject of investigations for her students.

A week in Texas will be a welcome change from the cool foggy weather that is typical of a Pribilof summer.


I teach ABE/GED and SGED in mathematics, science, social science, and language arts to adults helping them to be ready for the national GED test at TVCC (Treasure Valley Community College) in Ontario, Oregon. My students’ ages vary from year to year; currently my students’ ages range from 16 to 65 years old. I have been teaching since I was a teen, helping people with their basic skills: reading and writing. I have taught throughout my education career. I worked as a research assistant at CEACA (Center of Academic Studies in Environment Contamination). I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Agriculture at Queretaro University (Mexico) and started working as a production supervisor in a laboratory. I came to visit my mother and sisters in Nevada; this trip changed my life. I had a car accident. It took me out of my professional growth for several years, but not in my personal life. I have a wonderful family: a husband and three boys. We moved to the Ontario area when my husband lost his job in Nevada. This trip made another change in my life. We do not have relatives or friends in this area; we started over again. As I looked for work, I noticed that I needed to continue my education. Even though I had a Bachelor in Science from Mexico, that was not enough to find a job in this area, so I returned to school. I started over with my GED, and at that time, I noticed the need for bilingual educators at TVCC. This opened my eyes and encouraged me to pursue a degree in education. I started attending college while working at Head Start with young children. I received my Master’s degree in Human Development with specializations in college teaching/teaching adults, parent/community worker, teacher certification in early education pre-school through 3rd grade (Washington Certification) (Endorsements: Bilingual Education, Spanish and English as a Second Language). I am doing what I love, helping others to explore and find the desire to learn through teaching. My favorite hobbies are fishing, camping, hunting, exploring, and learning from others. I love food!

N Kurtz
Outreach Manager
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