Fellow, Climate Assessment for the Southwest
2022 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Environment & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant
Rachel Zollinger is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and PhD student in Art and Visual Culture Education at the University of Arizona. She has worked in museums, community spaces, and other informal learning sites developing and facilitating arts integration, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) curricula, and environmental education programming for K-12 students, families, and education professionals. Her research interests primarily focus on place-based learning and multidisciplinary approaches to children’s ecological literacy and agency through art and science. Rachel’s dissertation research seeks to study children’s drawing practices as an expression of their ecological identities. Through this work, she aims to establish better understanding of how intertwining science practices, art cultures, and first-hand experiences with plants, animals, and places influence children’s imaginative capacities. Her work is part of a broader, collaborative project with a science museum and local community partners in New Mexico to develop environmental education curriculum and teaching practices that support children’s intellectual and emotional capacities to effectively respond to environmental issues. The curriculum will be shared with other educators and through outreach programs in New Mexico to engage children in the local ecosystems where they live.