Pioneer Spotlight: Erin Edgington
Erin Edgington, assistant professor of education and STEM coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, has been at UW-Platteville since 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Illinois State University in Normal, Ill.; a Master of Science in education from UW-Platteville; and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics education from UW-Milwaukee.
Prior to working at UW-Platteville, Edgington taught for 15 years in the Dodgeville School District in Dodgeville, Wis., teaching in elementary, middle and high school settings. During her last three years in the Dodgeville School District, she worked in district-wide positions, first as a K-12 Response to Intervention coordinator and the final two years as a district math coach. She joined UW-Platteville’s School of Education in fall 2014 as its STEM coordinator and then this fall, she was hired as an assistant professor of education. She currently teaches Pre-K Methods and Human Growth and Development.
What made you decide to go into your field?
I have always loved teaching others, even when I was young and played school with the kids in my neighborhood. My fifth grade teacher, Chris Geiselhart, was an amazing educator who believed in all of the students, helped them achieve their best and provided an amazing learning environment for all children. I wanted to be just like her.
What key programs did you lead or participate in during the 2014-15 academic year?
During the 2014-15 academic year, I worked closely with faculty across the science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics departments as we sought input in the designing of our new middle childhood through early adolescence, grade 1-8, teaching major. The faculty members across campus were welcoming, supportive and provided a great deal of insight for this process. Additionally, I continued my collaboration with Drs. Grunow and Monhardt with the organization and implementation of Family Math Night events in Dodgeville. This collaboration started many years back, when I was still teaching fourth grade in the Dodgeville School District.
What is most challenging and rewarding about your position?
Time is always the most challenging aspect of what we do. There never seems to be enough of it. Working with the students is definitely the most rewarding aspect of my position. The students are respectful, resourceful and engaged members of our learning community at UW-Platteville.
Why is STEM education so important to a liberal education?
Now more than ever, our population needs to have an understanding of the science, mathematics, engineering and technology in the world we live in. This is not in place of the liberal studies upon which our university was built, but rather with intentional and meaningful connection throughout a course of study.
What are three things you hope students take away with them from your classes, programs and activities?
I hope students appreciate that learning is about understanding – not just memorizing and regurgitating. Similarly, I hope students are able to make meaningful connections from their coursework – both general studies and major courses – to their future profession and understanding of the world. Lastly, I hope students understand that learning is a dynamic process that they must engage in to succeed.
Interview conducted by Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.