MSU professor awarded for work in geoscience education by national teacher organization

Contact: Madison Welzbacher

Studio portrait of Renee Clary
Renee Clary (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State professor is being honored nationally for her outstanding contributions to geoscience education.

Renee Clary, an MSU professor in the Department of Geosciences, is the recipient of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ 2021 Transformation Award. NAGT promotes innovation and improvement in the geoscience education research community. The organization’s Transformation Award is given to those who have made impactful contributions to the field.

Clary’s work focuses on bringing geological and biological education to both formal and informal settings, as well as online. She has attained over $3 million in grant funding for her efforts and has written 80 journal articles, 30 book chapters and 300 peer-reviewed research presentations, all of which have been shared on at least five continents.

Clary said she is honored to have been chosen as a recipient of this award.

“The Department of Geosciences pioneered online education, developed an online master’s program for practicing teachers, and supported geoscience education research to determine what pedagogical techniques and course design work best to optimize their online programs,” Clary said. “I was fortunate that the College of Arts and Sciences includes both physical and social sciences, so my position as a tenure-track faculty not only received support for the geoscience education research that I conducted, but also the time allocation needed for my research. I was able to research and publish on a variety of GER topics and levels—from K-12, college, teacher professional development and informal science learning.”

One of her contributions includes serving as co-principal investigator/STEM director for the leaderSTATE STEM program, a series of week-long summer camps that bring over 300 JROTC high school students to MSU to learn about geosciences, leadership and fitness.

She also is director of MSU’s Dunn-Seiler Museum as well as director of the 15 Degree Laboratory, the EarthScholars Research Group and co-founder of the GeoViz Laboratory.

Clary said winning this award for MSU’s geosciences department affirms that the university has a solid program.

“I anticipate we will attract graduate students who want to focus upon, or include, geoscience education in their research,” Clary said. “We continually strive to optimize our online course delivery, and the possibilities within online education continue to grow. I am excited for the future, and interested to see what technological innovations it will bring.”

For more about the MSU’s Department of Geosciences or the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit and

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