Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Dr. Cherie McCollough

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Dr. Cherie McCollough

Making Science Fun

Dr. Cherie McCollough is getting children interested in science by creating a fun, hands-on learning environment with Family Science Nights at area schools. So far, she has reached more than 6,000 K-16 students through the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program, while training future educators to teach culturally-relevant science to K-12 students and their families.

Each year, she visits eight or more elementary, middle, and high schools across the Coastal Bend. Family Science Nights are also a learning experience for future teachers. These events provide them with the opportunity to interact with parents, one of the most important skills required to be an effective teacher.

“Family Science Nights are a part of my curriculum,” said McCollough, associate professor of Science Education.  “I give my students a theme and instruction and they design the curriculum and activity. Everybody has a great time and even the parents get involved.”

McCollough, who came to the Island University in January 2006, also leads the science component of the annual Family Learning Institute held at the University that instructs teachers on how to conduct a family learning event. McCollough currently teaches science to future K-12 teachers, is involved in extensive professional development in science teaching, and has designed and implemented interdisciplinary math and science curriculum and peer mentoring programs for the University’s NSF-funded Science Talent Expansion Program (STEP). In addition, she has helped secure several grants and has served on panels for the NSF and the Department of Education.

Recently, she was one of the first six educators inducted into The Texas A&M University System’s Chancellor’s Academy of Teacher Educators. While she is excited about reaching so many children, she feels more work needs to be done because in Texas, science is not measured by standardized tests until the fifth grade and is often left out of the curriculum.

“I want to help raise the level of scientific literacy,” she says. “You can’t do that with a textbook. You have to generate interest and get people engaged to appreciate science.”

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