Eric is from the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and is a graduate of Paul Smith’s College. His education career began early in 4-H programs, as a volunteer naturalist, and as a guide for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After earning a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science from SUNY Plattsburgh, he became the senior instructor and teacher training facilitator for a BOCES program outside of New York City. In 2001, Eric moved to Moscow Idaho to pursue a Masters of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Idaho. His Master’s work focused on STEM and place-based education, teacher training, and he served as principal and co-investigator on NASA and EPA Grants. As his master’s project, Eric developed staff trainings, resources, and curriculum, for what would become the University of Idaho’s McCall Outdoor Science School.
In 2004, while pursuing an Education Specialist Degree in Education Leadership, Eric became the Director of K-12 Education for the McCall Outdoor Science School Program. As part of a small team, Eric helped the new program grow from a 4-day overnight STEM learning program into a year-round residential outdoor science school serving thousands of learners, a Graduate Residency in Environmental Education Program serving sixteen students per year, and an Americorps Mobile Education Program serving schools statewide. His degree work focused on developing the K-12 evaluation system, while his contributions included building relationships with teachers and schools statewide, K-12 curriculum design, program materials development, and student/teacher mentoring. After graduation, Eric managed a world-class zoo program, an outdoor school, lead citizen actions, and a school food campaign before moving to Colorado in 2009.
In Colorado, Eric worked for the University Center for Atmospheric Research as Education Designer for the GLOBE Program’s Student Climate Research Campaign. He developed web-content, interactives, social media, STEM focused events, and international teacher trainings, before starting Rocky Mountain Education Design in 2010. After a successful launch year and programming, Eric was hired as an Instructor for the University of Colorado Boulder Science Discovery Program. In collaboration with students and researchers, Eric developed informal STEM programs and teacher trainings before being hired as their Education Designer in 2011. Over a seven-year transition from designer, to coordinator, then program manager, Eric built statewide STEM outreach programs reaching thousands of learners, one of the largest teacher professional development programs the state, and lead broader impacts and multiyear outreach efforts for research partners, university programs, and companies around the world.
In 2018, Eric relaunched Rocky Mountain Education Design to continue working with schools and partners across the mountain west, and to support cutting-edge STEAM, invention literacy, and place-based education programs nationwide. The company grew fast, providing teacher workshops, unique hybrid-learning professional development, technology consulting, and education design services to schools, universities, and companies around the world. A surge in national-level programs, as well as international technology collaborations, allowed Rocky Mountain Education Design to expand into the Pacific Northwest and launch a new chapter as Sky Valley Education Design, in 2019. This new effort works to blend problem solving and engineering design, with social change, environmental, and sustainability programs, through student design and research projects, technology integration, and mentorship programs, while continuing to provide world-class education design and teacher professional development for partners around the world.
Eric truly believes in unlocking the potential in every learner and sharing his passion and boundless enthusiasm for STEAM with diverse teachers and learners of all ages. He has directly impacted over 75,000 learners and 10,000+ teachers worldwide, and looks forward to inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, innovators, makers, and learning professionals. When not teaching or writing, Eric can be found on the farm, in the garden, paddling his canoe, backpacking in the mountains, playing chess, or working in his makerspace…a.k.a…the garage. To learn more about Eric, and his philosophy, impacts, and programs, listen our 3-part feature on the Center for Excellence in STEM Learning at CMU’s “Teach Wonder” podcast from September 2021: