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The science of experiential education

Sharon Ryan - the science of experiential education

Sharon Ryan believes the secret to getting students and teachers excited about science is to take them out of the classroom and into the action. As director of public programs for the world-renowned Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, she is doing just that.

The MA in Environmental Education and Communication (MEEC) graduate is working on an experiential education program called Desert to Rainforest, which connects middle school children in underserved communities in Phoenix and Panama. The program allows the students to explore each other’s natural habitats and cultures, and to learn how science works through field trips with researchers and educators, online and on the ground.

“People have a perception of science being serious and boring, but I think through these kinds of experiences, you can show that it’s actually very exciting and exotic,” says Ryan, who moved to Panama in January with her husband, Andrew Altieri, a marine ecologist at STRI, and their daughters, Anna, 5, and Lily, 3.  Read more...