U-Idaho Creates Director of STEM Education Position, Names Hamilton

Monday, August 20 2012

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has named Melinda Hamilton as the new leader of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education initiatives. Hamilton will work to coordinate the University’s numerous STEM efforts and capitalize on its significant expertise, explore future partnerships and provide leadership to ensure program growth and success.

Hamilton, who has served as the director of educational programs at the Idaho National Laboratory or INL for four years, will begin her university appointment Oct 14.

“STEM education is an important priority for the University of Idaho, and I am pleased to have such a high quality individual such as Melinda Hamilton join our team,” said University of Idaho President, M. Duane Nellis. 

At the University of Idaho, STEM education has disciplinary connections to every college. This new position, and its focus, will be supported by U-Idaho’s college deans under the guidance of Cori Mantle-Bromley, dean of the College of Education.

“We are pleased that Melinda Hamilton will be joining the University of Idaho community and will lead our signature STEM education initiatives,” said Doug Baker, provost and executive vice president. “She will coordinate research across the university on a topic that is critical to Idaho and the nation.”

As part of her duties, Hamilton will develop and implement a long-term, strategic plan for the University of Idaho’s STEM education and research initiatives; collaborate with statewide STEM practitioners and other institutions involved in STEM education and research; provide leadership in developing interdisciplinary proposals leading to extramural funding and increasing levels for STEM educational research activities; and provide leadership in STEM recruitment and retention at the University of Idaho.

“The University of Idaho is already a leader in the state, and nationally, in STEM education, but we have the opportunity to create a greater impact on several levels,” said Hamilton. “The economic impact this will have on the future of Idaho, in terms of education and business opportunities, is both exciting and endless.”

Hamilton has a strong commitment and leadership role to STEM education around the state. With INL, she has established statewide relationships and program with universities and colleges and managed all INL K-12 STEM education programs. She also set and implemented the INL vision for STEM education and coordinated with the State Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the governor’s office, and the provosts, presidents and deans of the colleges of education of the three state-funded universities.

Additionally, she serves as a national leader as the key interface with national STEM education organizations and sponsors, including: TIES (Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM); Change the Equation; the Multi-State STEM Network; Battelle National Laboratory STEM Network; Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Workforce Development for Teachers and Students; and the Department of Energy’s Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Education Initiatives. She also has been appointed by the governor to serve on the Idaho State Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, Committee.

“Working from the industry side of STEM education, I am excited to begin laying the foundation at the University of Idaho to better prepare students and the next generation of the work force,” said Hamilton. “The university has a strong partnership with INL and I can only see it getting better.”

As a working professional, Hamilton kept academic ties throughout her career. Hamilton has served on two academic search committees at the University of Idaho, serves on several advisory boards at Idaho State University and the state, and served as graduate adviser to a Washington State University student and a Northeastern University student while an adjunct faculty member. She also has served as a guest lecturer at Brigham Young University Idaho and University of Idaho – Idaho Falls.

Hamilton earned her doctorate in soil science, with a microbiology emphasis, at Utah State University; and her master’s degree in botany, emphasis in plant ecology, and bachelor’s degree in biology at University of Nevada, Reno.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.