Dr. Susan Rauchwerk
I currently serve as a Professor of Education and Associate Chair for STEAM in the Graduate School of Education. I direct the Lesley University WonderLab, a research and practice incubator for urban greenspace education. My primary goal in life is to help others establish and nurture connections to the natural world, and help mobilize actions that lead to local and global sustainability. I play and practice sustainable living in my urban-ish farmstead through gardening, chickens and pollinator meadowscaping for biodiversity.
My scholarly and practice-based research focuses on science and engagement through Critical Exploration. As the daughter of a concentration camp survivor and the mother of an African American teen, I am committed to understanding the impact and responsibility of my white privilege, and contributing to a just and equitable education and future for ALL.
I am a senior advisor to doctoral students in Educational Studies programs, and teach Schools as Systems in the Education Leadership specialization. I teach STEAM content pedagogy courses to candidates seeking an early childhood or elementary license, as well as those seeking a middle school or high school science license. I also serve as core science education and professional development faculty with the Biogen STAR Initiative.
I served as an Educator in Residence at Mount Auburn Cemetery through the Ecosystem Project funded by the Ruggiero Trust grant (video). Through an innovation grant, I support Make Way for Citizen Science children’s book project, where Lesley students work with science researchers and citizen science volunteers to write and illustrate children’s books focused on Mount Auburn Citizen Science.
My other work includes ongoing support of equitable education initiatives in Ethiopia. Teacher candidates in my STEAM methods classes research write and illustrate culturally relevant science stories and lessons helping students understand how poverty and access to education impact learning. Thanks to a generous grant from Lesley University, I traveled to Ethiopia in 2016 to train Ethiopian educators and librarians as part of the Ethiopia Reads Book Centered Learning Committee. Through a partnership with WEEMA, the science stories written and illustrated by Lesley students are translated into three languages and distributed through WEEMA and Ethiopia Reads libraries. Read more about this project.
I have been the program director for Science in Education, co-director of Elementary Education, and the director of the Urban Teacher Center. An avid gardener and environmental sustainability activist, I helped Lesley students establish an organic garden, and teach the Science and Ethics of Food and Farming. I have organized a number of public science events including Restoring Urban Environments, the Climate Café, and STEAM Exploration Party as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.
I also consult with schools to integrate nature-based education into the curriculum and schoolgrounds, providing professional development, curriculum design and strategic planning.