GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 98-3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


SMAGLIK, Suzanne M., Laramie County Community College, 1400 College Dr, Cheyenne, WY 82007; Physical Science, Yakima Valley College, S.16th Ave & Nob Hill Blvd, Yakima, WA 98907-2520

Heather is without a doubt a change agent for science education, especially geoscience at the community college level. I met Heather at the Denver GSA meeting in 1996; my first year teaching, and before On the Cutting Edge was born. That year there were five sessions dedicated to geoscience education and I was giving a presentation on designing and using virtual field trips on the (new) World Wide Web. It was my first non-technical presentation at professional meeting and I was still feeling a bit guilty that what I was presenting wasn’t worthy of the audience. Heather approached me after the session and validated the work I was doing. In 2019 there are 25 proposed geoscience education sessions. While Heather is not the sole reason for the proliferation of geoscience education sessions, she was there at the beginning, supported the recognition of education within professional organizations and reached out to the many talented educators in the 2YC community.

The 2010 “The Role of Two-Year Colleges in Geoscience Education and in Broadening Participation in the Geosciences: A Planning Workshop” with Heather as one of the conveners, became a turning point. The largest breakout group wanted to form some type of formal organization for 2YC instructors of geoscience. It was so large, in fact, that folks were asked to join one of the other groups so that we would have a manageable number. Out of that discussion, came a year’s worth of at least monthly phone meetings as we set up an organizational structure, argued about and then decided on the best professional organization to ask to partner with, wrote by-laws, created a name, and designed a logo. In 2011, the Geo2YC was officially recognized as the first Division of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. With Heather’s help we a created a community for many who didn’t have one before. We continue to thrive, support each other, and welcome new members to receive the same.

Have you ever wondered why a liberal-arts-and big-state-university trained geology professor from a state university would be interested in helping out the 2YC geoscience education community? This session is proposed to honor the efforts that Heather has made in supporting 2YC geoscience faculty and students. The NAGT Geo2YC would not be the success story that it is today without the effort and support of Heather Macdonald.