2019 Professional Learning Institute

Mary Colson

Mary Colson is an eighth-grade earth science teacher at Horizon Middle School in Moorhead, Minnesota. During her 26 years of classroom teaching, she has engaged students with the big ideas of earth science through authentic explorations in the field and lab, typically developing her own curriculum and activities. She is coauthor of the 2016 NSTA Press® book Learning to Read the Earth and Sky: Explorations Supporting the NGSS as well as contributing author to the recently released NSTA Press edited volume Preparing Teachers for Three-Dimensional Instruction. Mary has been a professional development facilitator for the National Science Teachers Association. She was a member of the NGSS writing team, has served on NSTA's Council of District Directors, and is a former president of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association. In 2008, she received the Medtronic Foundation Science Teaching Award for Middle Level Science in Minnesota. Mary has a BS in Geology from Allegheny College, Pennsylvania and an MS in Geology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She completed her teacher certification as a Lyndhurst Fellow at UT Knoxville.

Russ Colson

Russ Colson has worked for more than 25 years as a professor of geology, planetary science, and meteorology at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM). He has led over a dozen in-service workshops and professional development experiences for science teachers and engaged hundreds of future teachers in field trips and laboratory science. He founded the Earth Science Teaching program at MSUM and served as director for two education grant programs—Transforming Teacher Education at MSUM and Research Experiences for Teachers. In addition to over 180 peer-reviewed papers and presentations at professional conferences based on his research in experimental geochemistry, he has over 30 presentations and peer-reviewed articles on science education for science teachers. He is coauthor of the NSTA Press® book Learning to Read the Earth and Sky. In 2010, he was selected by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as one of four national winners of the U.S. Professors of the Year award.

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