Tanya Furman, professor of geosciences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was appointed president-elect of the newly formed education section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
“I am honored and somewhat intimidated to be chosen for this position,” said Furman, who began serving on the AGU leadership council immediately after her selection in October.
The education section was created in August to develop a diverse, inclusive and dynamic earth and space science talent pool, according to the organization.
“The education section was established after many years of thoughtful action by earth and space science faculty members,” Furman said. “I am very pleased that we are launching the section during AGU’s centennial celebration. A focus on education feels like a good way to embark on the next hundred years of sharing excellent research.”
The section aims to provide a transdisciplinary home for educators and education researchers. It will provide scholarship and educational expertise and will help develop partnerships with other organizations and the public, according to a statement on the AGU website.
“My personal emphasis has been on the emerging field of geosciences education research, in which the rigorous approaches of earth and space science research are applied to understanding how people learn the key concepts and approaches of the discipline,” Furman said. “This work is challenging, and it is critically important as we address the scientific questions around climate, energy, hazards and resources in formal and informal education settings, including those which contribute to formulating public policy.”
Furman is a former associate vice president and associate dean for undergraduate education at Penn State. She has also served as director of the Earth and Space Science Partnership and interim director of the University Fellowship Office.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Princeton University and her doctorate in geochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program.