NEWS

Natalie Aileen Larez comes to the University of Arizona from Douglas, Arizona, a small town southeast of Tucson on the border of Mexico. With two older brothers, a younger sister, and a handful of younger cousins, she set out to pave a path as a first-generation college student. She started at the UA as a public health major but she quickly realized she wanted to make a shift while working for the College Academy for Parents . Her job there was to co-facilitate a classroom of children, guiding and teaching children about college readiness.

Together with UA school site coordinators and the Department of Disability & Psychoeducational Studies, Director of Field Experience Maggie Shafer placed 163 undergraduate student teachers for the spring 2019 semester. This includes three students at Baboquivari Unified School District, three students at Casa Blanca School in Gila River, and 14 students who are planning to student teach internationally in cities like Guanajauto, Mexico, Rosendal, Norway, and the Liang Province in China.

Junior, Bekka Weismantle received the Arizona State Museum's Year at the Museum Award, a competitive work-study position from the Raymond H. and Molly K. Thompson Endowment to provide a two-semester, hands-on educational experience at the Arizona State Museum. Weismantle is pursuing a degree in Literacy, Learning, and Leadership with a minor in Family Studies and Human Development. Arizona State Museum's Community Engagement program provides a stepping stone toward her dream career of working in museum education.

A new hands-on science curriculum, co-developed by the University of Arizona and launching in three Southern Arizona high schools this fall, engages students in citizen science projects to measure air quality at various sites in and around Tucson. The Rising Vision curriculum — being piloted at Rincon and University high schools, as well as at Sierra Vista’s Center for Academic Success — has high school students measuring air quality at the Cooper Center, at their schools and at other sites in their communities, using sensors that visually detect airborne particulates

Associate Professor Jill Castek is the principal investigator on a new project supported by the National Science Foundation on how best to develop inclusive studio-based learning environments. Castek and Assistant Professor Blaine Smith will be collaborating across campus with Kevin Bonine, Jennifer Nichols, and Leslie Sult from UA Biosphere 2, and the UA Libraries, respectively. The University of Arizona team that also includes the STEM Learning Center, and the Office of Digital Learning, will be leading the way in the national conversation on designing innovation hubs for equity and inclusivity.

Have you been in a makerspace or an innovation hub? They are popping up in libraries, schools, and community spaces as places where you might experience 3D printers, coding tutorials, and even use older technology like sewing machines. More importantly, you will find people. People to teach you, learn from you, solve problems with you, and share each other's inspiration. You will likely find a community with common interests - a community that has the potential to cross income- and expertise-levels, age, race, and gender. We know that learning in these creative spaces and the digital environments they plug into can positively affect a person's relationship with skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). But, do we all feel invited to these spaces? Do all we thrive there? Can intentional design draw in the demographics that data show are systematically diverted from STEM career paths?

From February 25-28, 2019, Biosphere 2 will host a workshop for experts from academia, libraries, museums, and the like to gather, share, and discuss ideas. The broad national group will work through what type of learning takes place in these innovation spaces and identify barriers to access. The workshop outcomes will prescribe the pace and direction of how innovation spaces are designed. Importantly, the UA team will provide the National Science Foundation a summarized list of principles and assessments to anchor the future of digital learning in studio-based environments like makerspaces and suggest ways to facilitate community building specific to online learning.

More about this topic on mediashift.org

We know skilled teachers leave lasting impressions on their students, and for Jennifer Chee, her students did the same in turn for her- right on the fabric of her dress. Jennifer Chee, who was named 2018 Outstanding Student Teacher in Early Childhood, created unique, wearable art with the students she taught as a student-teacher at Gale Elementary and at Gentle Hands Center for Children. The early childhood program director, Donna Jurich, noted that Jennifer connected head and heart in her approach to build an inclusive classroom community using funds of knowledge. Congratulations, Jennifer on earning you degree with flying colors!

We are each affected by water supply issues. Scientists use immense datasets to develop computational models to explain what is happening and to develop solutions. To address these problems, the general public needs a level of environmental science literacy. This video on CompHydro is a submisstion to an annual video showcase, funded by NSF to improve STEM learning and teaching.

Undergraduate Sarah Azhar earned a selective summer internship at NASA to work in their Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. The Jet Propulsion Lab is the leading center of robotic exploration of the solar system. Azhar will be creating online training and education modules for lab staff. She will graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Literacy, Learning & Leadership in May. It goes to show the many directions that education can lead.

Monique Perez, a Literacy, Learning, and Leadership alumna, was selected to intern as a project assistant for the Library of Congress. Working at the largest library in the world was a dream job for Perez, who by the age of 8 had decided she wanted to become a career librarian.

The internship was an opportunity through a program with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. She is now pursuing a master’s in Library & Information Science at UA.

From UA News: Leah Durán grew up hearing her grandparents speak Spanish, but it wasn't until she became fluent in the language and started her teaching career that she found her passion for bilingual education. Today, that passion has led to her appointment as the 2018 Richard Ruiz Scholar/Artist in Residence.