Education doesn’t always happen in the classroom. Education happens everywhere, formally and informally. Erica Cox knows this through working with teachers across Missouri.
Missouri State University
At Missouri State University, Cox acts as the State Coordinator for Missouri Project Water Education for Teachers (WET) and State Co-coordinator for Missouri Project Learning Tree.
Both of these initiatives focus on teaching kids how to think, not what to think. Through hands-on, interactive learning, students K-12 have the opportunity to learn more about environmental issues and diverse viewpoints.
In addition, Cox teaches methods for middle school teaching and supervises high school science education majors before they graduate. She also works with Greene County, the City of Springfield, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and national committees with Project WET.
Science Teachers of Missouri
Cox also has responsibilities as the Informal Science Director and the acting Pre-Service Director for the Science Teachers of Missouri (STOM) Board. She represents all formal and informal science educators—even the science educators in college.
One example of what Cox does on the STOM Board is consider what is best for teachers and advocate for them. Each year, there is a statewide conference for science educators called Interface. Pre-service teachers can come, but the fee is costly—about $350-$400 for both days, plus travel—and it takes away time from classes. Cox proposed a shorter time for pre-service teachers so they missed fewer classes, and the fee for pre-service teachers was reduced to $100.
“I hope that some are able to make it this year,” Cox said.