Students awarded Wisconsin Idea Fellowship for teacher training in Ecuador

March 24, 2015

Two undergraduate environmental studies students have been awarded a 2015-16 Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship for a project linking Ecuadorian teachers to the Latino Earth Partnership Environmental Education Program. 

Brenna O’Halloran, who is majoring in environmental studies, geography and biological aspects of conservation, and Lauren Feierstein, studying environmental studies, zoology and Latin American and Iberian studies, are mentored by Catherine Woodward, a faculty associate in WISCIENCE

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation works with communities in coastal Ecuador to improve environmental and science education. Many teachers in these communities lack formal science training.

This project will train teachers from three Ecuadorian elementary schools in an environmental science curriculum that they can implement in their classrooms. The teachers will attend a workshop, receive help with teaching activities and receive lesson books in Spanish for future activities. The project also aims to lay a broad groundwork for Madison, Wisconsin-based Latino Earth Partnership to expand their work to Ecuador and provide science education workshops there annually.

Lauren Feierstein (left) and Brenna O’Halloran, pictured in Quito, Ecuador, are recipients of a Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship
Lauren Feierstein (left) and Brenna O’Halloran, pictured
in Quito, Ecuador, are helping to train Ecuadorian
teachers in an environmental science curriculum.

Latino Earth Partnership (Colaboración Ambiental) is a synthesis of the UW-Madison Arboretum’s Earth Partnership for Schools program with Spanish language and Latino cultures and communities in the United States. The partnership brings together educators, parents, organizations and resources to link environmental concerns to academic achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), health, social studies, languages and the arts. 

Wisconsin Idea Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate student projects working to solve issues identified by local or global communities. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student (or group of students) in collaboration with a community organization and a UW-Madison faculty or academic staff member.

Six student projects were selected from among nearly 20 submissions for the 2015-16 Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships. The 17th year of the Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowships feature two domestic projects and four international projects. The six projects — to be implemented over the course of the next 12 months — were collectively awarded over $30,000.

Michael Bell, a professor of community and environmental sociology and faculty affiliate of the Nelson Institute, serves as the faculty mentor for another fellowship recipient, Theo Loo, a microbiology and global health student studying waterborne disease prevention in Kumanzimdaka, South Africa. View the full list of recipients.

Source: Morgridge Center for Public Service