In Dominique Evans’ classes, students get to play the part of a scientist. Through a constructivist approach to mentoring, she heightens student engagement and deepens understanding. Students write project proposals, design and conduct research experiments, and then follow through with a scientific paper and poster that will be presented to their peers. Her students engage in productive collaboration and peer reviews using formal rubrics for their projects. Each student’s voice is heard and her or his thoughts and opinions considered as she or he explores current issues in science. These tactics show students the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) both in their everyday lives and as a viable path for college and a career.
Ms. Evans' major responsibilities and key achievements include serving as District advisor for astronomy and science research clubs, creator of a three-course Geographical Information System (GIS) Program at Clark Magnet High School, and leader of student teams that won 17 Lexus Eco Challenges totaling $300,000 in grants and awards. She successfully mentored 73 students (all of whom graduated from high school and 90 percent moved on to college work). She introduced Robotics, Environmental GIS, and Geology of Disasters as new classes and facilitated student projects that took top honors in the Western Regional Conference Environmental and Spatial Technologies competitions.
Ms. Evans targets students from underrepresented groups for inclusion in her research-oriented instruction. Evans' mentoring activities provide rich opportunities for underrepresented K-12 students, as she immerses them in science and engineering activities. She cites this example in her nomination: Students create rockfish habitat suitability models with GIS software, test their models on a fishing trip, then use the descending devices that they have designed to safely return deep water species to their habitats. Students’ discoveries involve documentation of the marine life found during these exercises.
Ms. Evans' honors include:
- Toyota Tapestry Large Grant recipient, 2008
- Robert and Karen Newcomb Graduate Scholarship recipient, 2009
- Marine Technical Society Student Scholarship recipient, 2009
- University of California Los Angeles Teacher Initiated Inquiry Project grant recipient, 2010 and 2012
- Chevrolet Green Educator Award, 2012
- Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, 2013
- Steve Allen "Excellence in Education Award," 2013
- Verdugo-Montrose Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year, 2013
- California Geographic Society Distinguished Teaching Award, 2014