Category Archives: Education

UM-Flint Math class partners with DDA for survey on downtown Flint

Laura McLeman, associate professor of UM-Flint Mathematics, is taking an interactive approach to her Introduction to Statistics course (MTH 272) by incorporating a special class project: her students  are working with Flint’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to create and circulate a survey that will help them better understand users’ interactions in downtown Flint.

Laura McLeman, associate professor of UM-Flint Mathematics (front right) with some of her MTH 272 students

Laura McLeman, associate professor of UM-Flint Mathematics (front right) with some of her MTH 272 students

The statistics course is a requirement for McLeman’s secondary teacher’s certificate program (TCP) students who will go on to teach math to high schoolers. As part of UM-Flint’s education program, the course reflects the TCP’s place-based approach that regularly connects coursework and teaching practices with partners and projects in the community. The approach allows UM-Flint students opportunities to experience teaching, working with diverse groups, and finding community partners they can impact and that can be impacted by their classrooms.

Students work through a problem in MTH 272 with Laura McLeman of UM-Flint Mathematics.

McLeman considers the survey to be a unifying project for this semester’s class, nothing that the students were enthusiastic about it from day one. They’ve been the driving force behind the nature of the project, she added. The survey will help the DDA and downtown businesses learn about community member experiences; its results should be helpful in future grant writing and business planning.

Students in UM-Flint's MTH 272 class

Students in UM-Flint’s MTH 272 class

Once the survey is closed, the class will use their statistics methods to analyze the data; the results will be included in a written report and executive summary that they present to the DDA in April. The class will also participate in a reflective exercise in which they consider how well their survey worked, whether it served the needs of their community partner, and whether it provided the data they were after.

For McLeman, the project is a perfect example of place-based learning: it utilizes the content her students need to learn, while providing a meaningful service and getting her students interacting with the community. “As future secondary math teachers, and community stewards, it is important to me that my students experience how community needs and classroom curricular needs can come together in partnership,” noted McLeman. “Essentially, I want my students to see how all of the seemingly disparate topics they are learning in this statistics course come together in meaningful and impactful ways.”

For more information on UM-Flint Math, visit; to learn about the education programs at UM-Flint, visit

Faculty Spotlight: Katherine Eaton of Science Education

Katherine Eaton joined the UM-Flint College of Arts and Sciences in Fall 2017 as an assistant professor of science education.

Katherine Eaton, PhD, Assistant Professor of Science Education at UM-Flint

Katherine Eaton, Assistant Professor of Science Education at UM-Flint

Read below to learn more about Katherine and how she’s educating future science teachers, or join her in one of her Winter 2018 classes:

  • EDE 344: Teaching Science, in Elementary/Middle School
    (held Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.)
  • SCI 125-02: Scientific Inquiry I
    (held Monday/Wednesday, 2:30 p.m.-4:50 p.m.)

Students can register at or find more information about upcoming semesters at

Students can also find Katherine at one of her Fall 2017 Coffee Chats:

November 2017 — Tips and practice for MTTC-Science items!
Thursday, November 16  |  5-6 p.m.  |  CSEP Conference Room, 215 MSB
Monday, November 20  |  12:30-1:30 p.m.  |  CEP, 410 French Hall

December 2017 — Fun with snowflake science!
Monday, December 4  |  12:30-1:30 p.m.  |  CEP, 410 French Hall
Thursday, December 7  |  5-6 p.m.  |  CSEP Conference Room, 215 MSB

Email for more information.

What degrees do you hold? 

  • B.S. Forensic Science, Michigan State University
  • M.Ed. Education, University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. Science Education (Dec 2017), Western Michigan University

Why are you passionate about your field?
The relationship aspect of supporting students as they begin to build their teaching practice is very rewarding! I think mentorship is a key component of having successful teachers in the classroom. I genuinely enjoy seeing students excited about experiencing and teaching science.

How did you fall in love with your discipline?
I have always been curious about scientific phenomenon and questioning the world around me. Forensic Science was a great fit for me because it incorporated all of the scientific disciplines and even had a problem solving component. Science Education has a unique challenge in that the things we know today may be different tomorrow based on new discoveries or new technologies. How cool is that?!

What are your favorite courses/subjects to teach?
I really enjoy teaching science methods courses and mentoring interns during their placements. It is rewarding to see the “ah-ha” moments when they start shaping their own teaching practices. I am also excited to teach the Integrated Science courses, they connect well to my Forensic Science background.

What is your latest or favorite research project?
My current research project is looking at how professional identity develops during a teacher education program. It is interesting to see what components are influencing the development of candidates’ identities as teachers. A secondary question is what, if any, impact a cohort model has on their identity development. This is significant because many undergraduate programs are shifting to cohort models.

What do you hope for your time at UM-Flint?
My hope is that I am building longstanding relationships with my students, colleagues, and within the Flint community. I would like my students to see me as a mentor rather than just an instructor of a course they had to take. That role opens up an opportunity to extend beyond the classroom and be a part of their growth as classroom teachers. I am also looking forward to creating community connections that build on our course learning objectives.

Katherine Eaton (left) and student Nancy Lareau pose with astronaut Story Musgrave

Katherine Eaton (left) and student Nancy Lareau pose with astronaut Story Musgrave

Why were you excited to join UM-Flint and the Flint community?
I am excited to be a part of the integrated science TCP. The joint appointment between the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education is a unique opportunity to combine my experiences as a scientist and educator. The Flint community has had a special place in my life for the last 20 years and I look forward to not only being an active member of the community but also supporting Flint Public Schools with well-prepared teacher interns. The place-based education opportunities at UM-Flint will provide wonderful ways to discuss science and pedagogy.

What do you hope for students in your field?
I hope students in Science Education enjoy the natural curiosities we all have and find ways to bring that into their own classrooms. New discoveries in science are happening every day and, as teachers, we get to share and explore these ideas with our students. Many advances in science came from failed experiments so I hope my students see that as an opportunity to take chances and try new things.

What are three things you think people should know about you? 

  • I am passionate about my students and they will always be a priority.
  • I truly enjoy researching my own practice and growing as an educator and mentor.
  • When I win the lotto, I will host free educational retreats in the Caribbean for science teachers!

High School Teachers Utilize UM-Flint Resources to Bring Science to Life

Honors Chemistry students from Byron visit UM-Flint labs on a field trip.

UM-Flint students experience hands-on learning, meaningful interactions with their faculty, and access to state-of-the-art equipment in their departments. They also make memories that stick with them for a lifetime and inspire them to come back to campus. Two UM-Flint alumni, Mandi Davis and Theresa Krejci (both teachers for the Byron Area Schools), recently returned to UM-Flint with their own students. They were hoping to show off a little of what made their UM-Flint experiences so special while giving the students access to recently renovated laboratory spaces.

Visiting Biology at UM-Flint

The Byron anatomy and physiology students began their day by visiting the gross anatomy lab with the Biology Department‘s Dennis Viele. They interacted with the university’s cadavers—examining the differing pathologies of hearts, seeing a spinal cord, and even touching an intact brain. “I wanted my students to see that UM-Flint is a great place to get their degree as well as expose them to some new opportunities in the field of science,” said Krejci. “We were able to view parts of the human body that we have or will be studying.”

Krejci graduated in 1993 with a degree in biology, a minor in mathematics, and a general science teaching certificate. “It was nice to return and see that so many improvements had been made,” she said. “The cadaver lab is equipped with lots of technology which allows for better learning for the students.”

Dennis Viele of UM-Flint biology leads students in interacting with a cadaver.

Dennis Viele of UM-Flint biology leads students in interacting with a cadaver.

Krejci teaches physical science and anatomy & physiology. She has also served as a biology teacher, a middle school science teacher, and was the curriculum director at Byron Area Schools for 11 years. She coaches 8th grade volleyball, summer softball, and works with the youth at her church.

Theresa Krejci, UM-Flint alumna and teacher for Byron Area Schools

Theresa Krejci, UM-Flint alumna and teacher for Byron Area Schools

Krejci fondly remembers UM-Flint and appreciates the ways in which her time as a student prepared her for her career. “The class sizes were not huge and you were able to talk with your professors if you needed to,” she recalled. “I enjoyed the lab experiences that I had while at U of M. I particularly enjoyed the field biology course that I took.”

Connecting Students

Byron honors chemistry students also visited UM-Flint, led by teacher and NHS advisor Mandi Davis. They were treated to chemistry demos by UM-Flint Chem Club students Noor Alawwa, Lynnette Harris, and Aaron Hancock, and then conducted their own experiments in one of the newly renovated Chemistry & Biochemistry Department labs.

Davis graduated from UM-Flint in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, a minor in math, and a teacher’s certificate. She completed her MA in educational technology in 2013. “It was great to return to campus,” said Davis. “I want to be able to expose my students to things that we cannot bring to Byron—to instrumentation, to some of the things that can inspire [and] ignite love for science!”

Lynnette Harris and Noor Alawwa of the UM-Flint Chem Club conduct a demo for visiting high schoolers.

Lynnette Harris and Noor Alawwa of the UM-Flint Chem Club conduct a demo for visiting high schoolers.

UM-Flint Laboratory Manager Monique Wilhelm helped coordinate the chemistry students’ visit. “Opportunities like these are extremely important in this day and age when everyone thinks they have all of the information at their fingertips,” noted Wilhelm. “Science is a process, not just a bunch of facts, and this process really needs a hands-on component that not all schools have the opportunity to give. Memorizing facts is not why anyone I know decided to become a scientist. It was the physical things we do and see, and the way we think, that motivated most of us to do what we do.”

UM-Flint alumni and teacher Mandi Davis with her students.

UM-Flint alumna and teacher Mandi Davis with her students.

While their experiments were running, the high schoolers had a chance to talk with current UM-Flint students and ask questions about being in college. “These students can only really learn what our campus is like by interacting with the students and faculty,” said Wilhelm. “Our campus’ biggest assets are its people.”

Students from Byron spend time with UM-Flint chemistry students in recently renovated labs.

Students from Byron spend time with UM-Flint chemistry students in recently renovated labs.

“These opportunities are important for our students,” Wilhelm continued, “as it gives them an opportunity to discuss science with non-scientists, as well as show their pride in what they do. Communication is the most important skill for any scientist and where they generally fall short is communication to the general public. This type of event is one of the things that makes the Chemistry Club such a great opportunity for all of our students.”

The Impact of Experience

Davis’ time as a UM-Flint student left her with a lasting impression of her faculty. “Dr. Virgil Cope, who was my academic advisor, had the biggest impact on my UM-Flint career,” she said. “He was a professor who was available to his students whenever we needed. We could be working on problems in the breezeway and, if we had questions, he had no problem stopping and sitting and answering them for us. He believed in me. I was nominated for the Maize and Blue Award, and he helped me to believe in myself and believe that I was worthy of the award. I won that award as well as Outstanding Graduate from the Chemistry Department. And I wasn’t even a ‘full fledged’ chemistry major—I was an education major!”

Honors Chemistry students from Byron visit UM-Flint labs on a field trip.

Honors Chemistry students from Byron visit UM-Flint labs on a field trip.

“Marina Ionina was another impacting professor,” continued Davis. “I did a lot of work with Marina and she helped me in the TCP (teacher certificate program) part of my experience at UM-Flint. She helped me to understand/explore how to teach chemistry, not just be able to do chemistry.”

Davis has high hopes that the visit to UM-Flint will be meaningful to her students and their futures. “I hope it sparks interest and excites them,” she said. “I want these experiences to be the things they look back on and think, ‘that was awesome—that was when I realized science was something I wanted to pursue.’  We all know that the ‘facts’ students learn on a day-to-day basis aren’t going to be what they remember—it’s going to be these types of experiences.”

AstroNite at UM-Flint: April 16, 2016

AstroNite activities at UM-Flint

AstroNite activities at UM-Flint

Visit UM-Flint and enjoy a family-oriented open house that’s out of this world!

As part of the International Day of Astronomy sponsored by the Astronomical League, UM-Flint Physics and Longway Planetarium have joined for a night that is sure to make your imagination soar to the stars. AstroNite is a free and fun way for all ages to celebrate astronomy. Activities explore rainbow forensics, planetary science, telescopes and other instruments, stars, cosmology, and more through hands-on learning, games, and crafts.

In addition to being a great resource for local families, AstroNite provides a unique teaching opportunity for the physics program’s students. Notes Justin Wisby, Physics and Mathematics majors, “I have been helping out with AstroNite for a couple of years now, ever since my first semester here. AstroNite is a key event each year which allows all participates a chance to learn something new. Since the demographic of your audience changes throughout the night, all presenters must vary their presentation style to help their audience understand. Knowing physics is not the difficult part, it is convincing others you do. AstroNite is the typical introduction of presenting physics, an experience that all new physics students at UM-Flint must have.”

For more information, or to RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Exploring Education in Israel

What would you find if you traveled around the world and met with your professional counterparts? Would you expect to see a greater number of similarities or differences in the work they do?

Stephanie Gelderloos, the developmental reading and writing specialist in the College of Arts & Science’s English Department, was invited to travel to Israel to find out. While there, she joined a conversation about the education of international students and those traditionally considered to be at-risk. She traveled with a small group of Detroit-area educators and administrators known as the Detroit Education Delegation. They visited Israeli and Palestinian schools, immigration centers, and educational communities.

The Detroit Education Delegation on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock behind.

The Detroit Education Delegation on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock behind.

Through her English courses and the work done with department colleague Emily Feueherm on UM-Flint’s Bridge Program, Gelderloos is working regularly with students who come from non-traditional circumstances and who may not speak English as their first language. Although the experiences for some of the students in Israel’s schools are different, consider those with refugee status or children belonging to nomadic societies, most are relatable those of students at UM-Flint. In both cases, they may just need some extra thought and consideration for their backgrounds and day-to-day circumstances. The approach taken in Israel to satisfy the needs of these students, and their families, was the main focus of the trip. Gelderloos traveled with the hope of gaining insights and ideas on ways she can improve the work being done at UM-Flint, especially fostering inclusion and integration in a multicultural space.

Learning in Israel

Although the trip mainly centered around younger students, Gelderloos still found inspiration for her work at the university level. “One thing that stood out was that they did a lot more with the parents of the at-risk students… A big component of what they did at a lot of these schools was they got the parents involved, they had training for the parents, social activities for the parents, to get the parents together at the school. The schools were almost like community centers, so their focus was on training and educating and helping the parents to be better support for the kids. So, I thought ‘I wonder if we can do something like that? Is there something that we could do for the parents of our students to help them be better support for the students, to maybe help them notice when things aren’t going right and know how to best respond?'”

Visiting with staff and immigrants during Hebrew class in Ramla's Immigrant Absorption center.

Visiting with staff and immigrants during Hebrew class in Ramla’s Immigrant Absorption center.

One of the areas of similarity that Gelderloos found was an idea of community service or civic engagement through the schools and education centers. “A lot of people who you would think need service, who do need service, are actually out there doing service. The kids in these needy schools find purpose and also connect more to their community, especially the immigrant students, connect more by being helpful, by providing assistance, through food drives or other support activities.”

Gelderloos (left) at the Ma'apilim in Lod, Israel

Gelderloos (left) at the Ma’apilim in Lod, Israel

When asked about her feelings of an exchange focused purely on educational practices, Gelderloos said, “I think educators must be the best everywhere. [They are] well educated, their hearts are in the right place and they want to help people, help their students. They are generally very passionate about what they do, and they are always trying to find ways to do it better. We met a lot of people like that. We went into quite a few places with a lot of great programs that were trying new and different things. People who were really dedicated. One of the schools was open from 6am to 10pm to accommodate work schedules and also as a resource for parents in the evening. They offered Hebrew classes for free in the evening, and they had computer literacy classes for parents. They were functioning as not only a school but a community center.”

CAS_Tsur Baher

Delegation members at a school in Tsur Baher, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

There were stops on the trip where the differences were more noticeable. Gelderloos described the situation and approach at one such stop, “At the Bialek Rogozin school in Tel-Aviv, there are students from 51 countries. There were approximately 1200 students in 12 grades. They taught all the students Hebrew but they also taught nine languages – reading, writing, speaking, etc. – in nine languages so that if the students’ bid to remain in the country were denied, they would be able to go home and speak, read, and write in their native language. That way they don’t go back to school at a significant disadvantage. I was really impressed by this, and I have never heard of any program like this here in the U.S.”

Delegation members during a tour of the Nitzana Educational Community.

Delegation members during a tour of the Nitzana Educational Community.

Bringing the Experience Home

When asked how she would be able to use and share what she’d learned on her trip, Gelderloos said, “I learned a number of things that I think could be beneficial to the students in our Bridge Program while visiting schools with high immigrant populations and the immigration absorption center in Ramla. For example, I learned about special programs that employed immigrants who have been in the country for some years as resources and mentors for newly arrived immigrants. I thought that we could use a similar tactic to help our international students integrate better and faster into our community. In addition, I did get some ideas for strategies to help at-risk students, and even a few ideas for assignments that help students explore their place in the university and the world once they leave UM-Flint. Finally, I learned about several programs that helped both foreign students and at-risk students successfully become integrated into the community via service activities. These service activities not only increase their self confidence, they also connect them to their community in a profound way. Emily and I have discussed adding service as a way to integrate the Bridge Programs students, and I will encourage other faculty members to consider adding service projects to their courses.”

Gelderloos will give a presentation about her trip to her colleagues in the English Department later this month. She said, “My presentation will mostly go over what I’ve been working on, what I got out of it as a developmental teacher and as a person who works with the international students regularly.”

The trip was organized by Jennifer Lewis from Wayne State University and was funded in large part by The Jewish Agency, with additional funding from the UM-Flint English department. Notes Gelderloos, “I am very grateful to all of them for this amazing experience.”

To learn more about the English Department and the university’s Bridge Program, visit

Opera Outreach Brings “Jack and the Beanstalk” to Area Schools

UM-Flint Music students perform their newest outreach opera: Jack and the Beanstalk

UM-Flint Music students perform their newest outreach opera: Jack and the Beanstalk

The UM-Flint Department of Music is continuing its traveling opera outreach this spring. After the successful productions of The Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel, the department has moved on to John Davies’ Jack and the Beanstalk. The 40-minute opera, set to the music of Gilbert and Sullivan, is fully staged and costumed. Both student performers and teaching artists are involved in bringing the production and music education to area schoolchildren and the community. The leading force of this project is Dr. Joshua May of the music department.


  • Jack: Marada Dahl (Voice Performance, Music Major Sophomore)
  • Giant/Trouble Man: Kevin Starnes (Alumni, Current Grad Student M.A. in Arts Administration)
  • Giant’s Wife: Jhane Perdue (Music Major, Voice Performance Major Freshman)
  • Giant’s Wife: Amanda Rodman (Music Education & Voice Performance Junior)
  • Narrator: Erica Kennedy (Theater & Voice Performance Music Major, Voice, Freshman)
  • Mother: Hannah Wikaryasz (Voice Performance, Music Major Senior)
  • Mother: Vanessa Salisbury (Voice Performance Music Major & Theater Major Freshman)

Teaching Artists:

  • Zachary Smith (Music Education Major, French Horn in Orchestra, Senior)
  • Alesha Akins (Music Education Major, Flute in Orchestra, Senior)
  • Heather Smith (Music Education Major, Voice)
  • Amanda Rodman (Music Education/Voice Performance, Junior)

Jack and the Community

The premiere of Jack and the Beanstalk was held at the Flint Farmers’ Market in fall 2015. Now the students are heading to area schools and community spaces to give free performances and supplemental instruction. Throughout the spring they will visit the Swartz Creek Performing Arts Center, Cook Elementary School, Mason Elementary School, the Flint Public Library, and, in a first time collaboration, the Whiting Auditorium. The May 6th performance at the Flint Public Library is free and open to the public. The school performances will be limited to internal audiences.

Classroom Learning

One of the aims of the opera outreach mission is to connect music to multiple core curriculum disciplines. UM-Flint Music Education students will visit the schools’ classrooms prior to the actual performance to develop lesson plans that teach math, science, reading, theater arts, foreign languages, geography, and storytelling through the elements of music. They will also guide students through a variety of learning activities that engage them with innovative lessons to help prepare them for the opera performance.

Says Karen Salvador, Assistant Professor of Music Education, “This opera outreach provides amazing opportunities for UM-Flint students and children all over Flint. Music education students are gaining real-world teaching experience in Flint classrooms, Flint children are interacting with college students, seeing live opera performed right in their school, and learning more about music in a hands-on, immersive way. Josh’s vision for this outreach is exactly in line with our university’s mission to partner with communities in ways that are meaningful to all parties. I know that this is an experience that will help shape our Collegiate-NAfME students as teachers, and it could also be an inspiration for a child who loves music.”

Supporting Outreach

Opera Outreach is made possible by the James A. Welch Foundation, the Nartel Family Foundation, University Outreach, and the Department of Music. Grants and funding have covered transportation for students, set pieces, costumes, and more.

For information, call 810.762.3377 or visit




Bendle High School Students Visit UM-Flint, Downtown to Better Understand Water Crisis

Dr. Marty Kaufman was one of a series of Flint experts and residents who spoke to Bendle High School students about understanding the Flint water crisis.

Dr. Marty Kaufman was one of a series of Flint experts and residents who spoke to Bendle High School students about understanding the Flint water crisis.

UM-Flint’s Secondary Teacher Certificate Program (TCP) has been undergoing a change in focus, moving away from more traditional models to one focused on place-based education. In this new approach, TCP students are spending more time connecting with diverse community populations through community- and school-based fieldwork and projects.

Tiffini Hurley, a current TCP candidate at UM-Flint, is student teaching at Bendle High School where her senior class is reading the novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. The book explores struggles of the working class in industrialized cities, including living conditions and work environments. To help her students better connect with the content and themes of the book, Hurley organized a day of activities outside of the classroom focused on “Understanding the Flint Water Crisis.”

When asked about her goals for the day, Hurley said, “I hoped that the students would gain perspective on what a community really looks like in times of hardship and what the need actually is in Flint. By doing this they can enact change in the world around them. Especially since they are about to graduate, I want to send them into the world with a sense of empowerment.”

Danielle De La Mare, one of Hurley’s TCP faculty members at UM-Flint, noted how thrilled she is that the place-based model is already a part of her student’s teaching process: “The work Tiffini has done with her students is nothing short of amazing! Few teachers, let alone student teachers, take on projects this extensive. Hopefully our new place-based teacher education program will inspire more of this in the future.”

Suzanne Knight, another TCP faculty member, added, “Tiffini is our first teacher candidate to do a full place-based project during student teaching. However, these projects are also largely collaborative. It took the efforts of her mentor teacher; two other teachers at Bendle High School (one English, one science); and Leyla Sanker and others in University Outreach.”

Bendle High School students cross campus to sessions focused on understanding the Flint water crisis.

Bendle High School students walk across campus to sessions focused on understanding the Flint water crisis.

The Bendle students arrived at the Northbank Center in downtown Flint early on Friday, March 18. As a full group they listened to Jenny McArdle of the United Way of Genesee County discuss community needs and volunteer efforts as they related to the water crisis response. The high schoolers then split into three groups, organized by topic: Health and Human Impacts, Economic Impacts, and Environment and Infrastructure.

Health and Human Impacts

The first group was led by Ms. Erin Brown from Bendle and Kye Bright of UM-Flint’s University Outreach and AmeriCorps. From the Northbank Center Ballroom they headed to the Innovation Incubator on the building’s second floor.

Bright presented “Exploring the Water Crisis from a Resident’s Perspective,” focusing on politics, media, and the human impact of the situation. The group also discussed responding to the crisis at a neighborhood level.

Mr. Todd Barden of Bendle High School sits with his students for presentations on understanding the Flint water crisis.

Mr. Todd Barden of Bendle High School sits with his students for presentations on understanding the Flint water crisis.

Economic Impacts

Tiffini Hurley led the second group, along with Sara McDonnell of UM-Flint Outreach.

Their first speaker was Janet Van Der Winkle, Executive Director of the Flint River Corridor Alliance (FRCA) and co-owner of Flint’s Tenacity Brewing.

From there the group made their way downtown to speak with local business owners and managers about their experiences and responses to the water crisis. The first stops were Blackstone’s Pub & Grill and 501 Bar & Grill. Each restaurant had their general manager on hand to speak to the students. The group then headed to the newly-opened Local Grocer where Franklin, a co-owner, discussed his business’ perspective on investing in local food systems and Michigan’s economy.

Environment and Infrastructure

Troy Rosencrants speaks to Bendle High School students about using geographic information systems to map lead pipes in Flint, Michigan.

Troy Rosencrants speaks to Bendle High School students about using geographic information systems to map lead pipes in Flint, Michigan.

The third group walked across campus, and the Flint River, to the Department of Earth & Resource Science (ERS) in the Murchie Science Building. They were accompanied by their teachers Mr. Todd Barden and and Ms. Elizabeth Seavey, and Leyla Sanker of UM-Flint Outreach.

While in the ERS department, the students listened to Professor Marty Kaufman speak on lead and Flint’s infrastructure and Troy Rosencrants, Director of the UM-Flint GIS Center, who presented an introduction to geographic information systems and mapping the lead lines in Flint.

Tiffani Hurley, student teacher, and her Economic Impact group on the bus to their next destination

Tiffini Hurley, student teacher, and her Economic Impact group on the bus to their next destination

Late in the morning the students returned to Northbank Center for lunch, reflection, and group discussions. They also made plans for upcoming projects.

When asked for some final thoughts, Hurley said, “The day went better than I could have imagined! There was so much support from the community. Leyla and the Univeristy Outreach were so instrumental in bringing my brain child to life I couldn’t be more grateful. I want to really thank Dr. Knight for pushing me, Dr. De La Mare for teaching me that being in the moment is more valuable than many things, and the teachers at Bendle High School for helping support me in the crazy journey. When we returned to the school there were students coming up to me and thanking me. I am so flattered and humbled by the vulnerability the students have shown, how they’ve embraced this process, and the young men and women I see them becoming.”
A Bendle High School student poses in downtown Flint during a class visit to "Understand the Flint Water Crisis"

A Bendle High School student poses in downtown Flint during a class visit aimed at “Understanding the Flint Water Crisis”

For more information on place-based education at UM-Flint, contact a member of the Secondary Teacher Certificate Program by visiting their website. For information on UM-Flint efforts in the community, contact University Outreach. For information on this specific project, please email Tiffini Hurley at