Rebecca is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, with a minor in Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis. Her research is focused on changes in soil development and soil carbon storage across contrasting climates and landscape positions. Rebecca’s field sites are located in the Santa Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona, where her sites span desert scrub to mixed conifer forest.
Rebecca is committed to science education outreach and has volunteered as an i-STEM mentor since 2012. The i-STEM hybrid mentoring program is focused on broadening the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM education programs and careers. i-STEM employs a combination of in-school, hands-on science activities and informal, out-of-classroom science field trips to stimulate interest and knowledge of STEM fields. Mentors recruited from the Tucson community are paired with 3rd-8th grade students from local schools. This NSF-funded initiative is committed to evaluating the program’s effectiveness on Native American and Hispanic student academic performance and science retention.
Rebecca is developing Space to Soils modules for use by i-STEM mentors and mentees as her UA/NASA space grant educational outreach project. The Space to Soils modules aim to integrate applied, technology intensive activities using satellite imagery to explore the Earth’s surface from space with a closer, hands-on examination of the soils encountered in everyday life. Rebecca’s goal is for i-STEM mentees to be engaged in the world’s interconnectedness from the expanses of space science to the intricate details of soil science. Mentees and mentors will also be taking a field trip to the University of Arizona’s Campus Agricultural Center where they will participate in a combination of space and soils related activities including the exciting exploration of soil pits!
The educational materials developed for the i-STEM hybrid mentoring program will be made publicly available for use by K-12 teachers and educators worldwide.