Embarking on this research and teaching fellowship has been an incredibly enriching and transformative experience. Over the past year, I have had the privilege to work closely with the education team in various roles, utilizing both in-school and out-of-school settings. These interactions with teachers and students have aided my passion for the field of science education and pushed the boundaries of my knowledge. These experiences have helped me by providing a unique opportunity to explore diverse perspectives, to understand what communities around us think about environmental issues, and, as environmental educators, what our role is in helping and preparing our future leaders (students).
One of this fellowship’s most essential and beneficial aspects includes the unwavering support and mentorship I received from Lloyd Center for the Environment (LCE) staff members. Their guidance and support have helped me navigate complex teaching and learning issues regarding the environmental education field. The work environment at LCE encourages collaboration and provides a safe space for individuals to share their ideas, concerns, and recommendations, and to make environmental education more inclusive and accessible for all students. I have worked closely with the education team to design summer courses, deliver guest lectures, and engage in one-on-one mentoring sessions. These hands-on experiences, such as conducting field trips and leading summer program classes, have broadened my understanding and provided me with great fulfillment.
Another aspect of this fellowship included working closely with the education research team to disseminate science education research in leading journals, conferences, and symposiums. Over the past year, I presented LCE’s work at three conferences: the Annual Meeting for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), the Conference on Communication and Environment – the International Environmental Communication Association and Reclaiming the Commons, and the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences. Presenting at these places provided a platform to share my research findings, insights, and ideas with a diverse and engaged audience on environmental education topics. These experiences have boosted my confidence in my subject matter expertise and fostered meaningful connections and collaborations with fellow researchers and scholars who share my passion and interest in environmental education.
In retrospect, my research and teaching fellowship has been a life-changing experience. It has enriched my academic journey, provided intellectual and professional development opportunities, and allowed me to contribute meaningfully to science education. I look forward to continuing to build on this foundation as I progress in my academic and professional career.