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Community Spotlight - Jennifer Bourgeault

Jennifer Bourgeault is the United States Country Coordinator for The GLOBE Program. 

"I love my new position in GLOBE!" Bourgeault said. "It gives me the opportunity to talk to the Partners I have met at meetings over the years, as well as the ones that have not been able to attend regularly. I'm finding out about the models they are using for reaching teachers, funding their partnerships and carrying out trainings." These conversations give Bourgeault plenty of ideas on what U.S. Partners need in order to assist and support each other more. Working in a collaborative and strategic fashion with the GLOBE Program Office (GPO), Bourgeault is finding new and innovative ways to connect with Partners and provide them with the necessary tools to make their experience working with GLOBE more engaging and meaningful.

Bourgeault has had a life-long interest in science. She earned her undergraduate degree in zoology––with a concentration in marine biology––and she received a Masters degree in teaching at the University of New Hampshire.

Bourgeault first learned about GLOBE in 1995 when the Program was just beginning. GLOBE offered teachers a fresh way to introduce hands-on outdoor education, through scientifically valid data collection and research that could be used to analyze local environmental issues. In addition, GLOBE offered students the opportunity to work with scientists and to examine their environment as young scientists themselves. One of the early benefits of GLOBE was the opportunity to use the internet to upload data to the global database via the Internet.  "I was teaching high school and really wanted my school to be a GLOBE school but we didn't qualify because we didn't have an internet connection. Then I saw a job posting at the University of New Hampshire for a research associate. Dr. Russ Congalton from the Land Cover/Biology Team wanted to hire a teacher to help train teachers in land cover and make the Land Cover/Biology  teacher materials more teacher friendly––someone to communicate the science to the teachers. This was my opportunity to get involved with GLOBE."

One of her first tasks was to visit the 'superstar' teachers in the Maine and New Hampshire area. One of the first on her list was Nancy Chesley, in Maine, who taught 3rd grade. "I was a little doubtful as to how much 3rd grade students were able to do and then I met this amazing teacher." Bourgeault said. "She brought me into the field that she wanted to classify using the MUC (Modified UNESCO Classification(system). She asked her students to pace out the 30x30 meter site for teh biometry measurements that she wanted to show me. These students knew exactly what to do and then they each sat down at the corners and some at the center of the site and started reading the books that they had brought with them. It was amazing! Great classroom management and what an excellent reinforcement to me that GLOBE was 'doable' by all ages of students."

Another memorable experience was working with GLOBE teacher Patty Gaudreau in Maine who started out as a middle school teacher and then took a position at a science center that served all the schools in the large town of Auburn, Maine. Bourgeault and Gaudreau became friends and worked for years on MUC-A-Thons in the town of Auburn. "Every year Patty and I would spend about a week preparing the students and teachers in the 7th grade to look at satellite images of Auburn over time, practice the land cover protocols and then finally, over one day all the 7th graders would get on buses." Bourgeault said.  "The buses took groups and dropped them off along designated places along the routes. The groups would get off the bus, have a route to follow and a pick-up spot. They would spend hours in the field collecting data along that route, eat lunch and meet the bus for pick-up. We'd return to the school cafeteria and the groups would enter their data that same afternoon. It was an impressive couple of years." The GLOBE student data was used by David West, graduate student at the University of New Hampshire, to carry out his research on change detection in Auburn. "My favorite part of that activity was when I would go in and we would have students working on MultiSpec with their satellite image of the city––noticing where the Walmart was now, where they could find a quarry and identifying their neighborhoods." Bourgeault said.

When asked what makes GLOBE unique, Bourgeault quickly remarked, "Hands down: the people. The students, teachers and Partners of GLOBE are some of the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever met. I believe in this Program and its ability to provide what you need to do science––to go as far as you want to go in terms of student research. To me, GLOBE is a fully loaded toolbox and anyone that participates in GLOBE has resources that not many other science programs have­­––teacher and scientist vetted protocols to collect data in most of the science disciplines, some of the best professional development providers in the country who stay on the cutting edge of both scientific and educational research and trends, access to scientists who want to help bring STEM to K-12 schools and a responsive community of collaborators including alumni, scientists, educators, and students." Bourgeault noted. Her advice to students is this: "If you want to answer your questions about the environment, GLOBE will help you to do it with the science protocols and give you feedback through the GLOBE website. If you do this, you'll have plenty of opportunities for scientist and peer review and you'll be well on your way to an exciting career in science."

type: globe-news

News origin: GLOBE Implementation Office