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Education and Outreach Team

The goal of the Science Education and Outreach Team is to develop learning tools and opportunities that inform individuals of all ages about climate change and its predicted effects on state agriculture and the natural environment.

The Education Team is integrating elements of the different research efforts into programs designed to enhance STEM learning across the educational spectrum and among the public. Public education programs, including a citizen science project and an exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center, are being designed to help students, teachers, and citizens understand how plants are affected by and adapt to temperature changes and water availability and what these impacts may mean for communities. These public education programs also are sharing information about the state-of-the-art technologies Missouri scientists are using to study the relationship between climate and plant productivity.

Research Aims

  • Aim 1: Develop new discovery-based STEM learning modules for students and K-16 educators.
  • Aim 2: Design a citizen science project on climate-soil interactions and recruit participants statewide.
  • Aim 3: Create an interactive outdoor food and agriculture exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center.
  • Aim 4: Offer an annual summer institute on computer science for women.
  • Aim 5: Provide research internships in computer science for LU undergrads.






Education and Outreach Team Lead

Dr. Terry Woodford-Thomas

Dr. Terry Woodford-Thomas is the Director of Science Education and Outreach at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. She has expertise in the communication of plant science to the public in creative, meaningful ways. Dr. Woodford-Thomas will share responsibility for the overall strategy and execution of the proposed work on the Science Education & Outreach Team.

Education and Outreach Team Members

Sandra Arango-Caro

Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro works with the MO DIRT project in all aspects of its implementation including the design and development of the soil science curriculum, soil surveys, data management strategies, evaluation plan, public relations, etc.

Jessica Dashner

Dr. Jessica Dashner is an occupational therapy instructor and research manager for occupational therapy programs at Washington University School of Medicine. She has experience in working with young males and females with Spinal Cord Injury to provide them with a pathway to a long and rewarding careers in informatics, biological sciences and other areas of science. She is the lead on the cross-institutional certificate program in bioinformatics for persons with disabilities.

Megen Devine

Megen Devine is Administration Support and Communications staff in the Occupational Therapy program at Washington University School of Medicine. She provides administrative support as well as editorial support, particularly with correspondences and publications.

Paul Freiling

Paul Freiling is the Director of Engineering and Technology Education at the Saint Louis Science Center.

Pat Friedrichsen

Dr. Friendrichsen replaced Dr. Sadler on the Education Team. She is professor of Science Education at MU in the Department of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum, and will be conducting professional development using the learning modules developed in Years 1-4 on the Education Team, and fine-tuning them with teacher input, and performing assessments.

David Heise

Dr. David Heise is Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Technology & Mathematics at Lincoln University and teaches courses across the computer science and engineering curricula. He leads the LU Undergraduate Computational Intelligence Program, develops and teaches classes and seminars to prepare LU undergraduate students in computer science to contribute to the research goals of the Missouri Transect through summer research experience at Missouri Transect sites.

Christine Li

Dr. Christine Li is Assistant Professor in the School of Natural Resources at MU. Dr. Li's research interests include conservation education/natural resources/environmental education, communication strategies, program development and evaluation, needs assessment, conservation psychology, conflict management, community empowerment, community forestry, civic ecology and capacity building in human dimensions of natural resource management. The goal of her research is to develop a fundamental understanding of how conservation education and pedagogy strategies influence natural resource learning outcome. The specific objectives of her research are to 1) design and evaluate the efficacy of environmental educational and outreach programs to key stakeholders, K-12, and public, 2) promote interdisciplinary research and community level collaboration in natural resource conservation, 3) investigate the individual attitudes, knowledge, perceptions, and behavior affect community resilience and other key stakeholder groups in natural resources management, 4) enhance educational and social science research methodologies and analysis, and 5) promote international collaboration in conservation education.

Troy Sadler

Dr. Troy Sadler is Professor of Science Education at MU. He is an expert in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in science education. On the Missouri Transect project, he has developed the STEM education needs assessment survey, and will lead recruitment of students from underrepresented groups, workforce training programs and teacher professional development.

Staff, Postdocs, and Students

Allison Blevins

Allison Blevins works with Dr. Terry Woodford Thomas as an Education Assistant at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Matthew Hagemann

Matthew Hagemann is an Intern at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center working with Dr. Terry Woodford Thomas.

Elizabeth Hedrick

Elizabeth Hedrick is a graduate student at Lincoln University working with Dr. David Heise. Elisa Israel Elisa Israel is Director of Research and Evaluation at the Saint Louis Science Center. She supervises the formative evaluation for the agriculture technology exhibit that will feature Missouri Transect research and technology.

Zachary Knuth

Zachary Knuth is an undergraduate student at Lincoln University working with Dr. David Heise.

Tian Li

Data Scientist at the Danforth Center working with us as a contractor for the MO DIRT data analyses.

Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez is a Research and Evaluation Associate at the Saint Louis Science Center. With Cindy Encarnacion, she conducts data collection, analysis, and reports activities for the formative evaluation of the agriculture technology exhibit that will feature Missouri Transect research and technology.

Caleb McGennis

Undergraduate studying with Dr. David Heise. Observation and Detection of Animals in an Environment Using the Techniques of Computational Auditory Scene Analysis

Hai Nguyen

Hai Nguyen is a PhD candidate in the MU College of Education working with Troy Sadler. Nguyen works on the development and testing of K-12 Learning Modules.

Amanda Peel

Amanda Peel is a PhD student in the Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum at MU working with Dr. Troy Sadler.