Dana Brown Haine Receives NC Outstanding Informal Educator Award in STEM
Dana Brown Haine works for a major research university that is on the cutting edge of scientific discovery. While this research may not have found its way into science textbooks just yet, Haine has found a way to make it relevant and relatable to today’s K-12 teachers and students.
“Connecting teachers to current science and showing them how it can be integrated into their instruction can really increase student interest in science,” said Haine, the K-12 Science Education Manager at the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We hope that that spills over into student interest in STEM careers as well.”
Professional development workshops led by Haine combine delivery of up-to-date science content with hands-on, STEM-based activities that teachers can take back to their classrooms and share with students. Since 2007, Haine has engaged more than a thousand NC teachers on topics ranging from climate and energy science to environmental health and water quality.
Since 2009, Haine has led the Climate Leadership and Energy Awareness Program (Climate LEAP), a year-long, STEM-based program for youth held on UNC’s campus with support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. This program has engaged more than 250 rising 9th-12th grade students in learning about the interconnected topics of climate and energy as well as the current and emerging solutions designed to move society toward a low carbon future. Haine’s approach is to introduce students to people conducting research on environmental issues and their corresponding solutions and provide hands-on learning experiences that show how these issues are relevant to their lives.
“Discovering why science matters is something I never learned about in a regular classroom setting,” said Climate LEAP alumna Hope Gattis. “After participating in the program, I am now actually studying environmental science at UNC. It made me not just a kid who kind of liked science class. It made me someone who saw issues in the world and wanted to use science to fix them.”
For her efforts in bringing science to life for teachers and students, Haine has received the Outstanding Informal Educator Award in STEM Education by the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center in Research Triangle Park. Haine will be recognized on April 28, 2018 in Raleigh, NC.
“Today’s youth are full of innovative ideas and are ready to solve problems,” Haine said. “What drives me in my work is empowering these students to make an impact in their schools and communities and move us toward a more sustainable future.”