MMSA Title: STEM Education Specialist
Hometown: Jefferson, Maine
Education: M.S. in Environmental Studies, Conversation Biology from Antioch University New England and a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology with a minor in secondary education from the University of Maine
Something you’re proud of at MMSA: I’m very proud of the accomplishments the WeatherBlur community has achieved over the past several years. It has been a pleasure getting to work with such talented and dedicated educators on this very unique place-based citizen science program. Past student-driven investigations have included microplastics found in drinking water and in soft shelled clams, beach trash clean-ups and community education around local climate change impacts.
What is your teaching/learning philosophy: My teaching and learning philosophy is to allow students to immerse themselves in local heritage, cultures and natural landscapes to explore and ask questions about the world around them. Student-driven inquiry is vital to a successful and well-rounded STEM education.
STEM passion area: My STEM passion area is the “S” in STEM which stands for Science, particularly ecological sciences and the study of natural systems. I have always been fascinated by the natural world around me and have dedicated my higher education and career to pursue this never-ending desire to learn more about the interactions between different natural systems. Conservation and stewardship is also a passion of mine which I hope is shown through my work at MMSA in WeatherBlur, climate change education, and the Maine State Science Fair.
What do you like most about your role at MMSA: I love being able to share my science knowledge and skills to help educators in their classrooms and communities enhance STEM education. It has been very rewarding to see the classrooms I work with lean into place-based science, allowing students to ask and investigate questions and to develop a culture of science in their schools and communities.
Favorite STEM-related memory: One of my favorite STEM-related memories was back in college when I was studying Wildlife Ecology at the University of Maine. As a “right of passage” through the program, every student was required to do a May-term “wildlife bootcamp” between their sophomore and junior years. It was an intense two-week course at a research field station on Cobscook Bay, Maine. Throughout the two-week course, we were required to get up before sunrise and head to the woods to do songbird surveys, followed by compass and field telemetry work, intertidal studies and end the day by doing herpetology surveys late at night (to name a few activities) all the while developing and conducting a research project that was to be presented and graded at the end of the course. Needless to say, it was a learning experience I will never forget.
What did you do before you worked at MMSA: Prior to joining MMSA, I spent five and half years at the Island Institute where I oversaw several STEM educational programs and helped support island and coastal schools. I also helped give fishermen and coastal communities a stronger voice in the ocean planning process as well as educate fishermen and community members about shellfish and kelp aquaculture. I also worked as a consultant for the Green Fire Productions film team to develop a secondary educational curriculum focused on their award-winning Ocean Frontiers film series, portraying how unlikely allies are working together to find solutions that benefit ocean ecosystems and blue economies.
What do you like to do in your free time: I enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, camping, exploring nature and practicing yoga
What memory from your childhood would you like to share that exemplifies why you do the STEM education related work that you do: Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by the natural world around me. I remember listening to nature sounds on cassette tapes and learning to identify bird songs at a very young age. Growing up in Maine was wonderful because it allowed me to explore the many different types of ecosystems found here, from the mountains, to old growth forests, to the North Atlantic Ocean. Growing up in a hunting and fishing family also helped shape my career and interest in STEM. From a very young age, I was taught to respect and be thankful for all that nature provides us; clean air, clean water and natural resources that are to be used respectfully and wisely.
Rebecca’s Bio: Rebecca combines her passion for conservation, science and education into a unique role at Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance. She joined MMSA December 2018 and is currently working on the citizen science project, WeatherBlur, and is co-coordinating the Maine State Science Fair through the Reach Center at MMSA. Prior to joining MMSA, Rebecca spent five and half years at the Island Institute where she oversaw several STEM educational programs and helped support island and coastal schools. She also helped give fishermen and coastal communities a stronger voice in the ocean planning process as well as educate fishermen and community members about shellfish and kelp aquaculture. Rebecca has also worked as a consultant for the Green Fire Productions film team. She worked to develop a secondary educational curriculum focused on the award-winning Ocean Frontiers film series by Green Fire Productions, portraying how unlikely allies are working together to find solutions that benefit ocean ecosystems and blue economies.
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Phone: (207) 626 3230 x119
Email: all emails are first initial last name at mmsa.org