PSS’s Joey Young looks at increasing awareness, diversity in turfgrass science
By: Allen Ramsey
Joey Young, an associate professor of turfgrass science in Texas Tech's Department of Plant & Soil Science, has received a $425,000 grant from the USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture to conduct professional development for agriculture and science, technology, engineering and math educators centered around turfgrass science.
“Our goal is to work with educators to provide professional development on how turfgrass science could be implemented as STEM,” Young said. “One of the benefits we pointed out in the proposal is the vast openness there is to turfgrass. Almost every student in any place could have some kind of interaction with turfgrass.” STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Young's project is designed to give teachers the tools and knowledge needed to add elements of turfgrass science to their curriculum, first by hiring teachers to develop integration methods, and later by implementing professional development events in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Lubbock and Amarillo.
By bringing in teachers from across the state and tying turfgrass science to STEM education, Young hopes to increase diversity in turfgrass science, a broad field that offers many career paths. He believes including turfgrass science in some high school programs will expose more students to opportunities they may not even know exist.
“We're currently not tapping into a group of people who could have a lot of interest and be effective at the job,” Young said. “We want to highlight their careers and successes and shed some light on opportunities that are available through turfgrass science.”
The focus is on teaching the science behind managing turfgrass systems – whether it's golf, athletics, a park or something else entirely. Then share stories of individuals from various backgrounds who found success in the field, he said.
CONTACT: Glen Ritchie, Department Chair, Department of Plant & Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-4325 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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