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Contact: Christopher Derman
On July 21, Carol Hesse concluded her Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT) experience at Manhattan Project National Historical Park. A math teacher at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, Carol worked as Manhattan Project’s 2017 TRT, where her main focus was to create a new educational resource for high school students. She created a new lesson plan which will allow students to gain a better understanding of how the Manhattan Project impacted not only the local community of Oak Ridge but the world at large. This lesson plan also looks at the experience of both women and African-Americans within the Manhattan Project.
As to why Carol applied, she said, “I applied to be a TRT because I love the national parks. These places are preserved because they provide a place to learn about history and experience the natural world. I enjoy sharing the experiences I’ve had with loved ones and introducing young people to all the park system has to offer.”
When asked what her experience as a TRT was like, she said, “being a TRT was interesting because I spent a lot of time learning about the history of the Manhattan Project and how it was shaped by the history in the state as well as how it affected world events afterwards. I also got a glimpse into the NPS culture. NPS rangers care for parks so that everyone can experience these special places.”
The TRT program was made possible by the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation and the Friends of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, who provided the funds needed to allow for this type of professional development opportunity to be possible.
The TRT program is a professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers to spend the summer acquiring new skills in experiential learning through a program provided by a partnership between the National Park Service and the University of Colorado at Denver (CUD). The participants spend between four and six weeks in an NPS unit developing a major educational project and participating in an online graduate course from CUD.
The Teacher-to-Ranger-to-Teacher program is an extended professional development opportunity for teachers to connect with national parks through a summer work experience. Teachers selected as teacher-rangers spend the summer performing various duties depending on their interests and the needs of the park. The Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program allows parks to reach teachers and students who have had little or no experience with a national park setting and provides opportunities to explore the relevance that National Park Service sites can have in their lives.