Professional Development Coordinator
Science & Health Bldg. (#36), Rm. 542
Master of Arts in Teaching, Biology, Northern Arizona University, 1998
Bachelor of Science, Environmental Biology, second major in Anthropology, Fort Lewis College, 1991
I enjoy my job of working with educators all over the state of Arizona. It is my desire to help educators become better professionals within the art of teaching. I am interested in engaging students and educators with curriculum and teaching strategies that strive to solve real problems in our world. Currently I am using the study of infectious disease to create a bioscience curriculum for the students of Coconino County Career and Technical Education program. In addition to the curriculum the course will have an authentic problem for the students to engage with: the tracking and data collection of influenza like illnesses (ILI’s) Through my own teaching in K-16, I have found the use of biotechnology to be an effective means by which to teach a great deal of biology content. Bioscience also serves as an exemplary means by which to introduce the ideas of STEM education to educators and ultimately students.
In addition to my work in educator professional development, I have enjoyed a host of opportunities where I got to do science and learn about life. Prior to coming to NAU I have had several positions in field and lab sciences starting with an environmental consulting firm in Denver, CO where I did vertebrate and invertebrate toxicology studies. Then following a move to central Florida to work with another consulting firm I conducted bird mist netting, banding and blood draws in orange, and grapefruit groves as part of a late stage pesticide study on cholinesterase inhibitors prior to EPA approval of the pesticide. Both of these positions showed me different parts of the world, and exposed me to how money can cloud the clear lens of science. From Florida it was off to Virginia where I conducted vegetative analysis on the military lands of Quantico Marine Base. Here I learned that Marines don’t like Tabasco, and was told by a rather irate drill sergeant to stay out of the way of “Devil dogs coming through” our study plot. Quantico was followed by the same work at Camp Shelby Army Base in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Here I learned to be able to adjust personal goals. While on a Saturday morning mountain bike ride on the base, I heard a mechanical squeaking noise coming closer, it was then that an M-1 tank launched on to the road 200 feet in front of me. I decided that I had met my goal and turned around. Houston, TX was the next stop, where I conducted sulfur and water content analysis of gasoline in a fuel testing lab. During my experience in the fuel lab, I learned that you can hear too much country music. I also had one of my favorite positions at the Houston Zoo where I enjoyed being charged by sheep, being jumped on by flying squirrels, stalked by turkeys and avoiding the incredibly fast jaws of juvenile American alligators.
At last, my wife and I ended up in Flagstaff, where I worked as a research intern at the Arboretum at Flagstaff and attended NAU where I received my teaching credential and Master’s degree. From there I started as an educator as a middle and high school science teacher in Flagstaff. After teaching a huge assortment of courses over 8 years, I was able to join the outstanding staff at the CSTL where I have been for 10 years.
Selected scholarly activities
Innovative Collaborative Research Experience and Technical Education (iCREATE). Awarded $840,514 to test of model of community involvement in career and technical education courses to increase the bioscience workforce in Northern Arizona. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) ITEST program (#1513198). Role: Co-PI and Program coordinator. PI: Dr. Ron Gray, Co-PIs: Danielle Ross, Dave Engelthaler, Brent Neilson. 2015-2018
Physics of Force and Motion: Integrating STEM into the K-8 classroom. Awarded $643,385 to develop and deliver professional development to the Coconino County ESA and Yuma County ESA K-8 educators. Funded by the Arizona Department of Education Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program. Role: Co-Principal Investigator. PI: Cheryl Mango-Paget CCESA and Ethan Dolle (NAU). Co-PIs: Emily Evans. 2016-2017
Clark, J., Kirkley, J., & Kesler, K. (January 2016) Leading Change in STEM Focused Schools. Presented at the 21st Century STEM: Integrate 2 Innovate Conference, Phoenix, AZ.
Rubino-Hare, L., Blevins, K., Manone, M., Bloom, N., & Kesler, K. (July, 2014). Geospatial connections promoting advancement to careers & higher ed. Presentation at the annual Esri Education User Conference, San Diego, CA.
Kesler, K., & Kirkley, J. (2013, October). What Might STEM Instruction Look, Feel and Sound Like? Arizona Science Teachers Association annual conference, Phoenix, AZ.
Kesler, K., & Ueckert, C. (December, 2012). Biotechnology as an Avenue for STEM: Lessons from the Northern Arizona University GK12 Project. Area conference, National Association of Science Teachers, Phoenix, AZ.
Ueckert, C., Kesler, K., Krohn, A., Polsgrove, P., & Roe, C. (March, 2010) Bringing Biotechnology into the Classroom: 3 Biotechnology Lessons You Can Use Next Week. NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education GK-12 Annual Conference, Washington DC.
Ueckert, C., Kesler, K., Paquette, A., Vlieg, J. (March 2011) Lessons Learned: Meeting the Challenges of a GK-12 Program. NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 education GK-12 Annual Conference, Washington DC.