Dr. Heidi Carlone, Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education
When scholars discuss how to improve education, they occasionally do not take the emotional, economic, and lived experiences of the students into great account. Dr. Heidi Carlone, the inaugural recipient of the Jennifer Smith Hooks ’76 and Jacob T. Hooks Distinguished Professorship in STEM Education, puts those concerns at the center of her research on innovating science and engineering learning settings.
Established in 2016, the Hooks Distinguished Professorship is one of several investments Jennifer and Jacob Hooks have made in UNCG’s School of Education. One of a long line of Woman’s College/UNCG graduates, Jennifer established the professorship to honor not only her own exemplary education but also the community service her mother, aunts, and grandmother—all WC/UNCG alumnae—valued.
A professor of science education in the Department of Teacher Education and Higher Education, the University of Colorado Boulder graduate works to make science and engineering pathways more accessible and equitable. Dr. Carlone recently received funding through the National Science Foundation for her project “BRIDGES for socio-environmental good: BRoadening Identities for Diverse Groups Engaging with STEM.” BRIDGES engages diverse middle school students and their teachers with out-of-school, problem-based learning that demands science, engineering, and computing as tools to address environmental problems.
As the Hooks Professor, Carlone will be a primary mentor and role model for future STEM public schoolteachers in the School of Education. Through class instruction, visiting scholars, and presentations on STEM practices and research, she will help mold the next generation of teachers, preparing them to address the socioeconomic differences in students that affect and necessitate innovative teaching.
“The Hookses’ generous investment in the School of Education will allow us to extend and enrich our STEM research and practice,” says Carlone. “I am honored to be named for this position.”
When they established the Hooks Professorship, the Hookses remembered the students Jennifer’s mother and aunts taught and tutored, and the lunch room and bookmobile her grandmother established for her neighborhood’s children. In 2017, Carlone seeks to bridge the same gap, making the latest technology and scientific knowledge accessible for the most underrepresented and underserved students in society. Armed with this professorship, she will continue the legacy of service Jennifer Hooks and her family honored and maintained.
Story by Michelle Danner-Groves, Donor Relations. Photo courtesy of Chris English, Tigermoth.
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