Innovations in STEM K-12 Outreach News 2015-2016

April 2015


Catherine Skokan, Research Professor, Professor Emerita (EECS), and member of the Innovations in STEM team, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She will serve as vice president of external affairs and will begin her term during the society's annual conference in Seattle in June 2015.


August 2015 

Dr. Catherine Skokan, A Female Pioneer in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Retires! 

 Dr. Catherine Skokan began at the Colorado School of Mines at the age of 17. She received her degrees from Mines Geophysics Department, 1970 BS Geophysical Engineering; 1972 MSc Geophysical Engineering; 1975 PhD Geophysical Engineering. Dr. Skokan was the first female to  receive a Ph.D. from Mines. Additionally, Dr. Skokan is the longest serving female faculty in Mine’s history. She became a member of the Geophysical Engineering department in 1975 and continued until 1996. In 1996, Dr. Skokan joined Mine’s Engineering department as a tenured  Associate Professor and continued this position until 2010. She then became a member of the research faculty, regularly working on educational outreach projects with the Trefny Institute for Educational Innovation.

 Dr. Skokan has served Mines in many capacities, traveling extensively with the McBride Honors Program, the Humanitarian Engineering Program, Senior Design and the Music program. She has traveled around world as a Mines representative for Semester at Sea and as an invited  speaker as a Road Scholar. Dr. Skokan has received many distinctions including Outstanding Young Woman in America Award, Outstanding Professor in Geophysics, Excellence in College Teaching from the Colorado Association of Science Teachers, Alfred Jenni Fellowship Award for Educational Scholarship, Ange Melaragno Service Award for Outstanding Contribution to the McBride Honors Program, and the Gold Award from the Engineering and Environmental Geophysics Society.

Dr. Skokan is also accomplished musician and has regularly performed at Mines.  As a student, she played bassoon in the band and sang in the choir.  Presently, she plays violin in the orchestra, bassoon in the band, and erhu in the Chinese band.  She has regularly performed in the Library and is active in planning and participating in the music international trips.

Dr. Skokan and her husband Dr. Jack Skokan  (CSM PhD. In Geophysical Engineering, 1975) raised five children (Margaret –b.1974; Jacob – b.1976; Paul – b.1978; Thomas -1982-2007; Mary –b. 1984) while maintaining and thriving in their professional careers. Dr. Skokan is an original, female trailblazer in STEM; she designed a feasible professional path for the many women to follow at the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Skokan’s picture hangs in the Golden History Museum, as one of the most influential people of the City of Golden in the last 75 years.

September 2015

Joyce Bilgrave, A Female Pioneer for Dyslexic Intervention written by Dr. Barbara Moskal 

I would like to recognize an amazing woman in dyslexic intervention: Ms. Joyce Bilgrave, M. Ed. “Ms. Joyce,” the name by which many dyslexic children know her, is 85 years old and is the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Camp for Dyslexic Youth. She is a pioneer in dyslexic instruction.

Her introduction to dyslexia, as is the case for many of us, was from the perspective of a frustrated mother. Over 40 years ago, her bright son was failing in his effort to learn to read. Ms. Joyce who was also a teacher, challenged the school and their methods. In doing so, she discovered the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction and has been successfully teaching dyslexic children to read ever since. These children include her children and grandchildren, as well as hundreds of other children, spanning several generations.

Ms. Joyce can, but never would, boost numerous accomplishments within the dyslexic community. She is a Fellow of the Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. She co-founded and is the former director of the Jemicy School of Baltimore, Maryland, a nationally recognized program of excellence for dyslexic students. She was instrumental in the founding of two additional schools for dyslexic learners: Rawson-Saunders School, Austin, Texas; and the LibertySchool, Durango, Colorado. For students who are not located near a dyslexic school, Ms. Joyce developed summer camp options, including overnight and day camps: Durango Mountain Camp, Camp Bomadil, and Rocky Mountain Camp.

Where did it all begin? On Ms. Joyce and her husband Bob’s farm in Phoenix, Maryland (see: In 1972, Ms. Joyce cofounded with Mr. David Malin “Camp Bombadil” and the success of this camp led to the establishment of Jemicy School. Camp Bomadil was named after a character created by J. R. Tolkien. Camp Bomadil offered intense and extended summer reading instruction along with outdoor activities, a model that continues in Ms. Joyce’s camps today.

At 85, one must wonder how Ms. Joyce enjoys her retirement—that is, had she ever retired. Ms. Joyce continues to teach and tutor dyslexic youth to read using the Orton-Gillingham approach. I have had the privilege of working with and coming to know Ms. Joyce as a colleague through the Rocky Mountain Camp for Dyslexic Youth.

Thank you, Ms. Joyce, for everything you have done, continue to do and will do for our children in the future.

December 2015


 Nicholas Stambach, A Ph.D. student in Chemistry and Geochemistry and a third year fellow with Dr. Barbara Moskal's Innovations in STEM K-12 Outreach Program has published a paper on his current research entitled, "Rapid Detection of Listeria by Bacteriophage Amplification and SERS-Lateral Flow Immunochromatography," Congratulations, Nick!





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