Stephanie Somerville Zamora
I am a part of the Lab’s K-12 Education team. I help with the team’s communications (website, eNews, and social media), educators professional development, curriculum development and online store. I like my role because I believe it is important to encourage and provide resources to educators that are inspiring and supporting the next generations to become better stewards of our planet.
I was born and raised in Costa Rica, Central America, surrounded by a diversity of plants and wildlife. From an early age I was taught by family and educators about the importance of protecting the environment and all living things, which led me to study biology at the Universidad de Costa Rica. At UCR I took many electives and got involved in different research projects, from slime molds to mangroves and seagrass, in search of the area I would specialize in. It wasn’t until I discovered the wonderful world of environmental education and interpretation that I found it.
I saw the failure to communicate the information produced by scientific research to the public, and a disconnect between nature and humans in general, but these disciplines can help bridge those gaps. I spent a few years working in various capacities: leading environmentally focused field trips for children from pre-K to sixth-grade; giving lectures on biodiversity and the natural and cultural history of Costa Rica; and guiding educational tourism groups while raising awareness of environmental issues, before I moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin to pursue my degree in environmental education and interpretation.
In Wisconsin, I also encountered inspiring educators and mentors, and with their help I conducted research in citizen science in nature centers. This is what led me to the Cornell Lab, where I am happy to be able to reach educators and provide them with the tools and resources to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders.
M.S., Natural Resources: Environmental Education & Interpretation, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
B.S., Biology, Universidad de Costa Rica