By Lexie de los Santos
The National Geographic Society is committed to educating students about the world, empowering them to succeed and encouraging them to make the world a better place by becoming global citizens. In order to support this mission, the Society launched new fellowship opportunities for educators in the 2017-2018 school year. The Education Fellows support innovative project development and project leadership, share their expertise on an emerging issue or priority and help incubate new ideas for geographic education. Fellows are generally mid to late career educators and they range from pre-K -12 classroom teachers, informal educators, academic geographers committed to geographic education, and nonprofit professionals to thought leaders in the education space.
National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell announced the Education Fellows as the featured speaker at the 18th Annual Grosvenor Distinguished Lecture at The Gilbert M. Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education at Texas State University.
Before the crowd, Knell addressed National Geographic’s very first Education Fellow, Joe Grabowski, who has made an incredible impact with his leadership in National Geographic Education’s Explorer Classroom program. Explorer Classroom brings science, exploration, adventure, and conservation into classrooms through virtual speakers and field trips. Joe has innovatively found a way to use technology to open the most remote corners of the planet to classrooms. In recognition of his impact, the Varkey Foundation has selected Joe to be one of the top fifty finalists for their 2018 Global Teacher Prize, a $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
Joining Joe, Knell also announced four additional Education Fellows at the event:
Alex Oberle, Ph.D., is a professor of geography at the University of Northern Iowa, and, will participate in National Geographic’s Geo-Inquiry National Initiative.
This bold educational effort is designed to help students understand the world by examining the patterns, processes, and interactions between human and natural systems. This Geo-Inquiry Process allows students and educators to use geographic skills to solve community issues.
Kavita Gupta, a chemistry teacher at Comprehensive Public High School in Cupertino, California, will support National Geographic’s work in amplifying student experiences.
Kavita will share best practices from her “deconstructing” events — educational experiences that are multidisciplinary and highly creative.
She’ll provide valuable insight into student challenges.
Jim Bentley, a teacher in Elk Grove, California, is serving as the educator ambassador for the Geo-Inquiry Process during the 2017-2018 school year.
Jim will develop the extensive library of educational assets National Geographic makes available to educators around the world.
He will also present the Geo-Inquiry Process on behalf of National Geographic at professional conferences and events.
Stephanie Harvey, currently serving as a private consultant, has spent the past 40-plus years teaching. In that time, she spent 15 years teaching regular elementary and special education, and became a staff developer for the Denver-based Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC).
Stephanie’s company, Stephanie Harvey Consulting, implements K-12 district-wide literacy initiatives focused on comprehension, collaboration and inquiry across the curriculum. Stephanie will work with the National Geographic Explorer magazine team to write teachers guides, give advice on the strategic use of informational text in the classroom, and help shape the new asset library.
Cultivating global awareness can help students become “Generation Geography,” a community of socially conscious and informed changemakers striving to achieve a planet in balance.
At the event, Knell emphasized how National Geographic’s focus on geographic literacy is bolder and more ambitious than ever before. Now, more than ever, students need to understand the importance of human and physical geography – how people interact with the environment and each other. Cultivating global awareness among these digital-savvy learners can help students become “Generation Geography,” a community of socially conscious and informed changemakers striving to achieve a planet in balance.
For more information about National Geographic’s commitment to education and other opportunities to get involved visit, natgeo.org/education. Support National Geographic’s efforts to enable more cutting-edge scientists, conservationists, and educators like these to get out into the field here.