3 chosen for PK-12 Council’s Outreach and Engagement Awards

April 28, 2016

The Purdue University College of Agriculture’s PK-12 Council selected three winners of the 2016 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Awards.  John Cavaletto received the PK-12 Excellence Staff Award, Rod Williams the PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award and Tom Turpin the PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award.

Each received $5,000 to expand and improve their PK-12 Engagement activities.

Cavaletto, teaching laboratories coordinator in the Department Botany and Plant Pathology, was recognized for his passion and enthusiasm, collaborative thinking, and for taking on outreach and engagement projects outside his official university appointment on his own initiative because he understands the importance of exposing students to plants. He exemplifies PK-12 engagement and outreach by his involvement with numerous partners. In the span of eight years, he has reached over 800 K-12 students and teachers.

Williams, associate professor and associate head for Extension in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, was recognized for integrating his Extension and teaching appointment to effectively develop programs that engage PK-12 audiences. He developed The Nature of Teaching, which includes a teacher workshop and a web portal for educators to access lesson plans, which have been downloaded 45,592 times since 2010.

Turpin, professor and instruction development specialist in the Department of Entomology, was recognized for his numerous creative activities that provide students and adults with an opportunity to learn about insects in an engaging and fun manner through firsthand experiences. Turpin developed the Insectaganza event, which reaches 500 to 1,000 students each year, and co-founded Bug Bowl, which reaches over 30,000 people annually. He is known throughout Indiana as the “bug guy.”

The college’s PK-12 Council’s Outreach and Engagement Awards were established to recognize, reward and celebrate faculty and staff involved in successful outreach and engagement activities and to encourage the improvement and expansion of those activities. There were 12 nominations, exhibiting the work in the college does in expanding the pool of students prepared for careers in food, agriculture, and life and natural resource sciences.

The PK-12 Council was developed in 2011 to organize the college’s capacity to leverage its strengths in engaging youth through outreach and engagement efforts. It is composed of representatives of every department and unit in the college. The Council is dedicated to promoting faculty, staff and student efforts to interact with PK-12 teachers, students and parents by creating opportunities for networking and sharing of resources.

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