Meet the 2019 National Geographic Education Fellows!

Each year, the National Geographic Society selects outstanding educators to serve as Education Fellows. It is with pride, admiration, and enthusiasm that we announce our 2019 class.

The goal of the National Geographic Fellows program is to empower and elevate individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences who have demonstrated leadership and excellence, and provide them an opportunity to develop and/or lead an impact-driven project that is strategically aligned with Society priorities. The program also offers an important platform for these inspirational individuals to communicate about their work, its contribution to the Society’s purpose, and its longer-term impact on achieving the vision of a sustainable future.

Anita Palmer

Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

Anita Palmer is a former technology and social studies teacher who has organized and taught hundreds of institutes and classes for educators. Her focus is the integration of geospatial technologies across the curriculum.

With her husband, Roger, Palmer cofounded GISetc. GISetc provides professional development and curriculum support in geospatial technologies for K-12 and higher-education teachers and students. The Palmers have also established a nonprofit organization, Geoporter, which trains communities how to use geospatial technologies to examine local resources and solve local issues.

Palmer has worked with National Geographic for more than 25 years, and is also a staff member at Esri Teachers Teaching Teachers GIS (T3G) face-to-face and online institutes.

Follow GISetc on Twitter: @gisetc

Willie Buford

Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

Willie Buford is a leader in after-school education, focusing on data-driven approaches to reaching diverse communities with innovative programs to opportunities for leadership. His fellowship is sponsored in part by a partnership between the National Geographic Society and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Buford is a site manager for the Flint & Genesee (Michigan) Chamber of Commerce YouthQuest after-school initiative. He organized and led students, parents, and staff members to the state capitol, where they advocated for the importance of after-school programs by presenting legislators data that supports the benefits of OST (Out of School Time).

Buford also serves on the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP) Quality Committee, and is a trainer of trainers for the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA).

Anne Lewis

Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

Anne Lewis has dedicated her career to citizen science-based professional development for educators.

Lewis is the special projects director at the South Dakota Discovery Center, where she leads earth and environmental science education outreach to students, teachers, and community members. She encourages both students and educators to develop an “Explorer’s Mindset” (as outlined in the National Geographic Learning Framework.)

Lewis has been a National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow and currently serves on the South Dakota advisory board for the National Geographic Educator Network.

Follow Anne Lewis on Twitter: @BadlandBison

Valencia D. Clay

Photograph by Becky Hale, National Geographic

Valencia D. Clay is dedicated to bringing opportunities and recognition to students and educators in urban school systems in the U.S.

Clay is currently a middle-school English teacher and critical theory professor in Baltimore. With literature as the foundation, she prompts her students to analyze culturally relevant matters from a critical stance.

Clay’s students are the published authors of Broken Keys Don’t Unlock Doors, an anthology of essays and reflections about their perspective on urban education. Clay herself is the author of Soundless Cries Don’t Lead to Healing: A Critical Thinking Guide to Cultural Consciousness, and the co-founder of The Flourishing Blossoms Society for Girls, Inc., with chapters in Harlem and Baltimore.

Follow Valencia D. Clay on Twitter: @ValenciaDClay

Joe Grabowski

Photograph by Randall Scott

Joe Grabowski is a former teacher working to bring science, exploration, adventure, and conservation into classrooms through virtual speakers and field trips.

Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, which Grabowski founded in 2015, has organized more than 1,000 Google Hangouts between classrooms and leading scientists and explorers. Participants from more than 50 countries have engaged with the program, connecting hundreds of thousands of scientists and students, educators and explorers.

Grabowski is the project lead for the National Geographic Education Explorer Classroom program. He was a National Geographic Education Fellow in 2018, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.

Follow Exploring By the Seat Of Your Pants on Twitter: @EBTSOYP.

Rue Mapp

Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

Rue Mapp is the founder of Outdoor Afro, a social community reconnecting African Americans with natural spaces through outdoor recreational activities.

With Outdoor Afro, Mapp uses a multi-media approach grounded in personal connections and community organizing. This innovative method of establishing community has made Mapp a leading voice in recognizing the importance of diversity in outdoor and shared community spaces.

In 2010, Mapp was part in a think-tank that helped inform the launch of former first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. She has been recognized as one of The Root 100 most influential African Americans in the country, won the Outdoor Industry Inspiration Award, shared the National Wildlife Federation Communication Award with former President Bill Clinton, and was selected as one of America’s 20 Most Influential Moms by Family Circle magazine.

Follow Rue Mapp on Twitter: @RueMapp

Kerryane Monahan

Photograph by Becky Hale, National Geographic

Kerryane Monahan is a National Board Certified Teacher of biology who focuses on weaving environmental themes across science disciplines and leveraging technologies to support student learning and engagement.

Citizen science is integral to Monahan’s teaching mission. She has brought students to Yellowstone National Park to work with scientists studying predator-prey relationships and the impact of wolf reintroduction, traveled to Portugal to study Iberian wolf conservation, and recently worked with researchers in Newfoundland to develop curriculum on microplastics in the ocean.

Monahan is a National Geographic Education Certified Educator and trainer, and encouraged an effort to support 90% of the teachers at her school to also earn certification.

Follow Kerryane Monahan on Twitter: @DrKerryane

Peg Keiner

Photograph by Becky Hale, National Geographic

Peg Keiner’s educational passion is creating space for people to solve the problems that matter to them. She empowers communities by helping them to collect data and drive positive action.

As the director of innovation at GEMS World Academy Chicago, Keiner connects students and teachers to experts and tools that allow them to inquire and make a positive impact on their communities. She consistently works to create opportunities for students to contribute to solving real-world problems through a variety of tools, hands-on experiences, and challenges.

Keiner is a National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, a speaker at the National Geographic Education Summit, Google Earth Education Expert, and Global Goal Ambassador for the United Nations Association Chicago Chapter.

Follow Peg Keiner on Twitter: @PegKeiner

For more information about National Geographic’s commitment to education and other opportunities to get involved visit, Support National Geographic’s efforts to enable more cutting-edge scientists, conservationists, and educators like these to get out into the field here.

8 thoughts on “Meet the 2019 National Geographic Education Fellows!

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  2. Happy To be a part of This Journey with National Geographic Educators,and wishing to learn and share to our fullest for a better tomorrow.

  3. This is not related to the topic but I am a student and you guys help me out a ton for my science projects. You guys are the best!

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