KSU professor keeps science torch burning
Dr. Thomas Brown hardly resembles the stereotypical mad scientist: Unruly white hair‚ thick‚ oversized glasses and a lab coat filled with a variety of ink pens in the breast pocket; but Brown is mad about science.
(Aug 11, 2005) — Dr. Thomas Brown hardly resembles the stereotypical mad scientist: Unruly white hair‚
thick‚ oversized glasses and a lab coat filled with a variety of ink pens in the breast
pocket; but Brown is mad about science.
Brown‚ an assistant professor of elementary science education‚ leads the fast−growing Georgia Elementary Science Olympiad program. “We try to provide students with activities that naturally generate interest‚ enthusiasm and a passion for scientific exploration‚” Brown said. “It is an inquiry−based‚ hands−on program that covers earth‚ life and physical science topics. The program also incorporates both engineering and technological principles in a meaningful and relevant manner.”
Kennesaw State recently hosted the Elementary Science Olympiad Invitational State Tournament. The competition was open to students in the third through sixth grades; it’s the fourth consecutive year that KSU has hosted the event. Brown estimates that approximately 2‚000 people attended — including 600 students representing 30 metro area schools. “Since KSU hosts the event right here on campus‚ it gives us the opportunity to showcase and promote the university‚” Brown said.
In addition to running the Olympiad program‚ Brown teaches undergraduate science methods classes and also supervises research projects for master’s degree candidates.
Brown’s passion for blending science and mathematics recently took him to Belize‚ where he conducted the SMATHematics Project‚ a teacher development program that helps educators better integrate science and mathematics through innovative activities. Brown directs this program that counts KSU‚ the University of Belize‚ the Hummingbird School‚ and Cobb and Bartow County schools as its partners.
Brown‚ who hails from Minnesota‚ is married with two children. He has been at KSU for three years following a successful 15−year career with the Cobb County School District.
“I really enjoyed teaching high school students‚” Brown said. “But the opportunity to teach at KSU provided the avenue to impact a large number of teachers – especially those just starting out – to be fully equipped with fresh ideas and the nuts and bolts it takes to teach science.”
Next on Brown’s agenda are plans to visit between 20 and 30 elementary schools during the upcoming school year. He will visit classrooms armed with hands−on experiments like the “Wonderful Waterlock.”
“This gives me the chance to promote science and encourage teachers‚ as well as provide kids with an opportunity for open exploration‚” Brown said. “This is a fun role for me.”
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.