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CEES Outreach Assistant of the Year

Shelby Gills Named 2017/2018

CEES Outreach Assistant of the Year



The Center for Earth and Environmental Science's first (ever) Outreach Assistant of the Year Award was bestowed on Shelby Gills during a ceremonious ceremony that took place during the Center's end-of-spring-term picnic on May 6.  The award - meticulously crafted from a piece of bush honeysuckle (so one could argue that the plant is, actually, good for something?) and topped with a Pleistocene-age fossil shell of Stombus alatus (mounted to a snail body sculpted from skulpi clay) - was designed to physically represent current environmental challenges: the twin threats of invasive species and climate change. Bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) is an aggressive invasive species.  Strombus alatus is a marine snail, and Indiana was, in the far, far, far . . . . far distant past, covered by ocean.  (OK, the fossil was not from Indiana, so the connection is a bit of a stretch - but still, climate change.)

Shelby joined the CEES team in late spring of 2016. Her hiring was the result of a series of fortunate events that commenced with her decision to attend the Earth Day Festival at Military Park, where she happened to stop by CEES's booth to enjoy the watershed table, and ended when CEES intern Jacob Birch commented that if the Center was looking for more outreach assistants, Shelby would be an excellent choice.

Actually, it didn't quite end there. Because Jacob waited until Shelby had left CEES's booth to impart his pearl of wisdom, a short-lived, but very intense, chase ensued during which CEES upper-level management tracked Shelby down (luckily before she left the vendor tent in which CEES was located - otherwise it would have been quite a long chase) to make a job offer.

Shelby has been an exemplary outreach assistant, taking an active role in all three of the Center's spheres of influence: service learning, education, and research.  She served as a service learning assistant for three semesters, participated in the Center's education initiatives (After School Science Club program, Discovering the Science of the Environment program), attended many public education outreach events, and assisted with research (particularly the Edge of Field project).  Shelby distinguished herself with her strong work ethic, tireless enthusiasm, solid grasp of content knowledge, and contributions to education programing.

Shelby graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science.  She will be missed at the Center, but the rest of the CEES team wishes her the best of luck in all her future endeavors (not that she will need luck - hard work creates its own luck) as she moves on to life post-IUPUI.


vrschmalhofer's picture