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Kathryn S Orvis

Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication 

  • Associate Professor – Extension Education
LIlly Room 3-231
915 W State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

  • Associate Professor of Horticulture


Provide support for Plant Science Project areas:

  • Plant science, general crops, small grains, soybean, corn, strawberry, flowers, vegetables, gardens, weeds, forages
  • Ag Biotechnology Education
  • State Coordinator for Junior Master Gardener(R) Program
  • Teaching Horticulture 101 - Fall Semester
  • 4-H/FFA Horticulture, Crops, and Soils State Judging Contests
  • 4-H Plant Science Workshop
Research interests:
Informal science, agriculture and environmental education through youth gardening including the Junior Master Gardener (R) program. Utilizing youth gardening as a teaching tool for topics related to STEM education Biotechnology Education, especially related to the use of animations and digital media.

American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS)
American Education Research Association (AERA)
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists Association (PUCESA)

Grew up in Upper Michigan (yes, I am a Yooper!) on a small farm and have one younger brother and a niece who live next door to the farm in Michigan; as well as a special grandma in Toledo, OH. I was very active in 4-H growing up. Current hobbies include: photography, gardening, reading, wine appreciation, watching the Green Bay Packers, travel and being super-mom for my son Wesley.


BS Michigan State Botany - Plant Physiology
MS University of Wisconsin-Madison Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics

Awards & Honors

(2018) NACTA Educator Award. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).

(2018) Certificate of Distinction. IAAE-Purdue (Indiana Association of Agricultural Educators).

(2019) ASEC Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. Dept. ASEC.

(2018) ASEC Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. Dept. ASEC.

Selected Publications

Zeller, M., Riordan, T., Zaleski, H., Herzfeld, D., & Orvis, K. S. (2010). Food: Edible Antibiotics in Food Crops. In Life Science Ethics (377–380). Springer Netherlands.

Orvis, K. S., & Espinoza Morales, C. (2017). Concept maps to address misconceptions in introductory science courses. National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Annual Conference.

Orvis, K. (2005). Junior Master Gardener in Indiana.

Mueller, A. L., Knobloch, N. A., & Orvis, K. S. (2015). Exploring the Effects of Active Learning on High School Students’ Outcomes and Teachers’ Perceptions of Biotechnology and Genetics Instruction. Journal of Agricultural Education, 56(2), 138-152. doi:10.5032/jae.2015.02138

Rothhaar, R., Pittendrigh, B. R., & Orvis, K. S. (2006). The Lego® analogy model for teaching gene sequencing and biotechnology. Journal of Biological Education, 40(4), 166–171.

Dirks, A. E. (2005). An evaluation of the junior master gardener program in third grade classrooms. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 15(3), 443–447.

Orvis, K. (2003). Genomic Analogy Model for Educators (GAME): from jumping genes to alternative splicing. Journal of Biological Education.

Orvis, K., & Orvis, L. S. (2003). Growing Healthy Minds and Bodies through the Junior Master GardenerŒ¬ (JMG Œ¬) Program.

Knobloch, N., Brady, C. M., Orvis, K. S., & Carroll, N. J. (2016). Development and Validation of An Instrument To Assess Youth Motivation To Participate In Career Development Events. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(4), 16-28.

Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010 USA, (765) 494-1300

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