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2013 News | College of Education

First Storer Scholars reflect on learning, teaching experience

A summer of training and teaching in a district summer science school program launched the year for four College of Education students who were the inaugural Storer Scholars cohort.

Mariel Pfiefer, Camille Hawkins, Mary Goetz and Ashley Allen were selected at the end of the 2011-12 academic year, from a competitive pool of more than 20 applicants.

The Storer Scholars began their journey in May 2012, at a one-week training program at Teton Science Schools (TSS). Their focus was on outdoor, place-based, science education.

In July, they taught a week-long Summer Science School for Carbon County School District 2 in Saratoga. The scholars worked with 58 elementary students, grades K-6, under the tutelage of TSS instructors Andy Solomon and Stephanie Lewis. 

At the conclusion of that event, parents and students completed an evaluation of the experience. Of the total group, 93 percent reported an increase in science literacy.

 “Feedback from students and parents was overall very positive,” TSS coordinators say. Students and parents listed several highlights of the experience, especially:

  • Fishing and finding macro-invertebrates
  • Tracking and plaster cast making
  • Exploring and hiking
  • Visiting local community landmarks


The four scholars reflected on their experiences and reported similarly positive outcomes. All four reported being more comfortable teaching outdoor, place-based science by the end of the summer experiences.

 “If anything, I feel more passionate about the value of place-based education,” one scholar wrote in her evaluation. “I see it as a more attainable practice than I did at the beginning of the week.”

Another wrote, “This was a great reminder of the power place-based education has on making an experience authentic, meaningful, and memorable.”

A third scholar reported, “Place-based education, to me, means going to a place and teaching/learning about that place with all of your senses - for example, instead of learning about sagebrush in a classroom, going to a sagebrush community and seeing, smelling, touching, and exploring. We did this in Carbon County Summer Science School. This really engages the learner on every level, which can seldom be done in a classroom.”

The second Storer Scholars cohort was selected in spring 2013: Andrea Leiferman, Jennifer Andersen, Katie, Guerrieri, and Rebekah Taylor.

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