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PhD Student Hannah Krueger Wins Teaching Award

Hannah Krueger is a fourth-year PhD student in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences (DEEPS) and the recipient of a 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award. Her nominators share that she has a contagious enthusiasm for teaching and cares deeply about helping all students in a course succeed. This award recognizes outstanding pedagogical achievement by a graduate student in any discipline.

During the recent academic year, Krueger assisted Associate Professor Victor C. Tsai, in the redesign of a new course on data and model analyses so that it could be taught remotely. Krueger’s work to design activities for students, as well as offering extensive office hours and student mentoring were key components to its success.

“I love teaching at all levels and try my hardest to be intentional about using practices that create an inclusive classroom and to encourage others to do the same,” says Krueger.

In addition to her TA work at Brown, Krueger volunteers with her department’s outreach program (DEEPS STEP). The goal of the program is to support and empower teachers in creating and teaching Earth and Planetary lessons in local public elementary schools and it is made possible through volunteer efforts of DEEPS students. Kruger is one of the most active and enthusiastic volunteers.

She began by teaching a third grade “Weather and Climate” module in her first semester at Brown. She then quickly took on a leadership role as one of DEEPS STEP coordinators. As part of this role, in close collaboration with another coordinator, she developed a new, 16 lesson “Weather and Climate” module for elementary students. “Hannah did tremendous work creating lesson plans, helping to organize the materials, train DEEPS STEP teaching volunteers, and synthesizing the feedback from the volunteers and teachers,” said DEEPS Outreach Coordinator, Olga Prilipko Huber.

Despite the challenges related to the global pandemic, the extensive redesign of the module resulted in a significantly improved version that received excellent reviews from local elementary school teachers.

Additionally, Krueger recently helped to conceptualize a new outreach initiative for Providence high school students that aims to expose them to Earth Science topics and career opportunities. This program is currently being put in place for the academic year 2021-22.

Of her experience with the DEEPS STEP program, Krueger shares, “While working with this program, we are constantly challenged to adjust lesson plans to increase clarity and inclusivity. This process has not only taught me about specific teaching practices, but also how to continually work towards improving student experiences.”

Not only is Krueger an excellent teacher, but she is emerging as a leader in geoscience education after co-organizing a session for the recent American Geophysical Union Meeting titled Inclusivity in Geosciences: A Conversation Between Scientists and Educators.  

In addition to her extensive teaching experience, her dissertation work focuses on studying earthquake data to better understand the structure of the lithosphere (lower crust and upper mantle) in continents.

Learn more about the other students selected for the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Awards.