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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Professor leads future scientists

PROVIDEDSenior+research+associate+Craig+Wilson+directs+the+Future+Scientists+Program+for+K-12+outreach.%26%23160%3B

PROVIDED

Senior research associate Craig Wilson directs the Future Scientists Program for K-12 outreach.

 

Monarch butterflies, exploding bottles and hissing roaches — Craig Wilson always brings something unique to the elementary school classrooms he visits, all in the name of science.
Wilson, a senior research associate at Texas A&M’s Center for Mathematics and Science Education, is the director of a K-12 science outreach program called the Future Scientists Program. The program gives students and teachers hands-on activities in research to teach them the importance of scientific inquiry.
Wilson runs about three of these programs per year, and is involved with the Bryan Independent School District.
Edward Fellows, Fannin Elementary principal, has known Wilson for 10 years. He said Wilson has worked with the students through things such as corn-ear worm investigations, creation of butterfly gardens and research in the USDA People’s Garden, a public garden to help the environment and better the community.
“Each time [Wilson’s] with kids, he is looking to engage students in their thoughts and willing to go the extra mile while offering experiences to kids in an unorthodox manner,” Fellows said.
Theresa Robinson, fifth-grade teacher at Johnson Elementary, said Wilson always brings a contagious enthusiasm for science to the classroom, and his program has impacted her students.
“Many of [my students] express an interest in becoming scientists after his visit,” Robinson said. “When they return to Johnson their senior year of high school, I have noticed an increasing number of my former students actually going to college to major in some sort of science-oriented subject.”
Cody Wall attributes his success and extends his gratitude to Wilson.
“I always remember Craig Wilson’s approach, ‘The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty,’” Wall said. “His philosophy still rings true in my ears today, as it’s true that I have learned the most out in the field doing research rather than being nose-deep in a book.”
Wall began his first semester at A&M this fall on scholarship after transferring from Blinn College. He is pursuing a degree in wildlife and fisheries management and hopes to pursue a job in environmental consulting.
“So Wilson’s approach works,with active kids and adults, both craving an experience which he has delivered every time since I met him almost 12 years ago,” Wall said.
Alongside Fellows and a handful of teachers, Wilson planted a garden for Fannin Elementary School.
“[Wilson] literally showed up with pick axes, shovels, wheel barrows, hoes and other necessary tools to start a garden on a Saturday morning about four years ago,” Fellows said. “He pulled up, opened up his science lab on wheels­ — a station wagon — and started getting tools in the hands of volunteers. After the garden was planted, he took his own time on weekends or weekday evenings to make sure it was weeded, watered and tended after.”
Fellows said Wilson saw greatness in the school and its students, and because of Wilson, the science program at Fannin Elementary improved exponentially.
“I have never had a student that was not excited about science after being around Dr. Wilson,” Fellows said. “There have been literally hundreds, if not thousands, of my kids that have worked with him over the past 10 years, and he was had a positive impact in some way on all students.”

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