The POD Team

The Power of Data

Expanding Geospatial Technology Career Development for High School Students Through Teacher Professional Development

2015 – 2019

Funded by National Science Foundation

Lori Rubino-Hare

Principal Investigator and Professional Development Lead

Lori Rubino-Hare, M.Ed., PI, is a Professional Development Coordinator at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at NAU. She has provided professional  development for secondary teachers on teaching science through PBI using GIS for the past six years through the NSF ATE (DUE# 1304872), NSF ITEST (DRL #0929846) and Science Foundation Arizona Math and Science Achievement Grant (MSAG #0412-09).



Dr. Nena Bloom

Co-Principal Investigator and Researcher

Nena Bloom, Ed. D., Co-PI is the evaluation Coordinator of CSTL. Ms. Bloom has been an evaluator at NAU since 2007 and has served as an evaluator on a number of NSF-sponsored STEM education initiatives and state-funded STEM PD programs for teachers.

Mark Manone

Co-Principal Investigator and GIS Lead

Mark Manone, M.A., Co-PI is the Chair of the Department of Geography, Planning and Recreation at Northern Arizona University and the Director of the Geospatial Research and Information Lab (GRAIL). Prior to his career in academia, Mark spent fifteen years working in Grand Canyon as a research scientist and field surveyor. Currently, his research is focused on geoscience education through the National Science Foundation Power of Data Project. Mark teaches a broad range of classes using geospatial technology from introductory level Mapping the World to senior level Capstone Design.



Dr. James Sample

Co-Principal Investigator and Geology Lead

James Sample, Ph,D., Co-PI is a professor in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. He has 30+ years of teaching experience. He has active research programs in the Japan Trench subduction zone and basin/paleoclimate studies in Arizona. He brings these modern research experiences into the classroom and PD workshops. Dr. Sample has developed GIS-based modules for teaching geologic hazards in large, liberal studies classes, and uses geospatial data in his capstone Geology field class. Dr. Sample was PI on the NSF-ITEST EYEPOD project and developed science content for the EYEPOD and NAzPOD PD institutes. He has worked frequently with CSTL staff on numerous PD projects for K-8 teachers in rural and underserved school districts in northern Arizona.


Dr. Brooke Whitworth

Educational Research Lead

Brooke Whitworth, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of science education in the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at NAU. Dr. Whitworth has a Ph.D. in science education and has worked on a statewide I3 grant for the U.S. Department of Education for the past three years as a graduate research assistant. As part of that grant she studied the implementation and adoption of new technologies by K-12 teachers. She is also a former science teacher of nine years who has taught PBI using technology in physics and chemistry classrooms.


Anita Palmer


Anita Palmer, B.S.,  is the president and owner of Critical Think Inc., dba GISetc that has been an education business partner of Esri since 2001. As co-author of the original Mapping our World: GIS Lessons for Educators book and subsequent editions and revisions over the past twelve years, she has developed the exemplar materials for GIS integration in the 6-12 classroom. She collaborated in 2000 to develop a week-long summer institute model for GIS integration into the K-12 GIS classroom and subsequently published a nationally recognized five-year survey and article on PD best practices predicated on that training model with Kerski and Baker. Anita Palmer is recognized in the field for her work as a trainer for the Teachers Teaching Teachers (T3G) institute on the Esri campus since 2009 to current.



Advisory Board

To advise the project, the team has enlisted several experts. Christine Cunningham, founder and Director of Engineering is Elementary, and Vice President of the Museum of Science, Boston, and Kirsten Daehler, Senior Research Associate, Director of the Understanding Science for Teaching Project, have developed facilitation guides and academies for PD coordinators and have been researching dissemination of professional learning for their projects. They will advise the team on the development of the facilitation guides and academies. Tom Baker, education manager at Esri, has conducted extensive research on STEM and GST integration and PD. The National Geospatial Technology Center of excellence has advised many grant-funded initiatives to improve learning through GST. The advisory board will convene in years one through three to advise the project.

Tom Baker, Ph.D., Esri Education Manager

Christine Cunningham, Ph.D., Founder & Director, Engineering is Elementary

Kirsten Daehler, Ph.D.,  Director, Making Sense of SCIENCE, WestEd STEM Program

Ken Yanow, Southwestern College & National Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (GeoTech Center)

External Evaluator

Joan Pasley, Ph.D., Vice President, Senior Researcher, Horizon Research, Inc.

Horizon Research, Inc. (HRI) of Chapel Hill, NC will conduct the external evaluation for the project, both collecting data directly on project activities and analyzing data collected by the internal evaluator. HRI has extensive experience evaluating science and mathematics education research, development, and implementation projects and education reform initiatives ranging from small, focused teacher enhancement efforts to national, cross-site evaluations of NSF-funded programs.