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Published April 09, 2020
Ana Houseal, outreach science educator for the Science and Math Teaching Center (SMTC) at the University of Wyoming, is the recipient of the 2020 Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award for her work with Wyoming school districts.
Houseal, also an associate professor in the UW School of Teacher Education, has spent the last nine years working to build collaborative partnerships with schools throughout Wyoming while fostering a statewide professional development network for in-service teachers.
She assisted in the adoption of the 2016 Wyoming State Science Content and Performance Standards (WySS). These standards are for the next generation of K-12 science education and are based on core ideas, science and engineering practices, and cross-cutting concepts. The SMTC, led by Houseal and her team, has focused on the needs of districts in the state to implement these standards smoothly in every classroom.
The Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award is presented annually to one UW faculty member who has demonstrated scholarship or practice of engagement that significantly advances knowledge-sharing between academic disciplines and the public.
“Dr. Houseal’s work at the Science and Math Teaching Center is impactful and has had a lasting effect on education in Wyoming,” says Jean Garrison, director of UW’s Office of Engagement and Outreach, which presents the Millgate Awards. “The professional development and network that Ana has created shows her dedication to education in the state. The effects of her program are not only seen in the teachers, but also in the thousands of students that are impacted by her work every year.”
Houseal and her team conduct outreach that works to build relationships and support K-12 science educators based on their needs.
“Our recent focus has been in helping them to implement instructional practices that align to the research on science teaching and learning,” Houseal says. “We also seek to build connections between K-12 science educators within districts and across the state. In this way, it strengthens our entire Wyoming K-12 system.”
Houseal also works to provide teachers and Wyoming school districts with the tools and training needed to succeed, says Cynthia Brock, the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in UW’s Literacy Education. She adds that Houseal has worked in 12 Wyoming school districts during the past nine years and, in the fall of 2019, she worked with 163 teachers, which has impacted 1,925 elementary school students and 6,600 secondary students.
“When travel is not an option, Ana and her team use Zoom to connect with teachers and students across the state, and use this as a way to check in and answer questions from the partner teachers,” Brock adds.
Houseal has mentored more than 50 education graduate students and collaborates with many UW entities, such as the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, Outdoor Education and the NASA Space Grant Consortium in an effort to build a strong community for statewide STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach. Through her mentorship of these students, Houseal is preparing the next generation of in-service teachers in Wyoming and around the United States.
“Dr. Houseal richly deserves recognition for her extensive statewide work with teachers, administrators and students across Wyoming for the past nine years,” Brock says. “We, as Wyoming citizens, are fortunate, indeed, that Dr. Houseal chooses to share her time, talent and expertise with us.”
Along with Houseal, Jane Crayton and Mary Louise Wood received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award; Morgan Longstreth, a UW psychology doctoral student and founder of the Caring Companions program, is the recipient of the Marvin Millgate Engaged Student Award; and Healthy Kids Rx, a collaborative program between Laramie’s CrossFit 7220 and UW, received the Marvin Millgate Excellence in Community Partnership Award.
About the Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards
Outreach and engagement with the state are core goals of UW and integral to the university’s land-grant mission. Building a strong culture of engagement and collaboration, involving the exchange of knowledge and resources, means developing partnerships in a context of reciprocity with the citizens and institutions of Wyoming, the nation and the world.
The Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards recognize individuals and groups at UW and in the community who have rendered exceptional engagement and service to Wyoming communities.