Member Spotlight: Justin

Member Spotlight,

Meet Justin Hougham!

Justin HJustin (he/him/his) grew up in Southern Indiana and now resides in Wisconsin where he is a Professor of Environmental Education Specialist at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tell us a bit about what you do at your organization. 
I have been a faculty member in Positive Youth Development for over 9 years. This position has focused on leading environmental science education programs. I am currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Extension and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Culture, History and the Environment (CHE), as well as an affiliated faculty in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am passionate about finding new ways to connect communities to the natural spaces around us. I am actively evolving programming innovations to support the development of scholarship and research in education in the urban context and expanding access for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Environmental Science Education (JEDI).

I have a significant amount of experience working with groups, schools and organizations in the Milwaukee area- the largest urban area in the state. I have developed curriculum and trainings for educators that reach widely across the city. As a part of this work, I incorporate components of socio emotional learning into the scientific learning process and -really specifically- as a part of scientific storytelling. These projects intentionally use storytelling to elevate youth voice, team roles to strengthen collaboration, and project based learning aimed at community science as well as problem solving. These methods continue to evolve in the COVID era and are critical now more than ever as we work to reach youth and communities throughout and beyond the pandemic.
Tell us more about yourself! 
Dr. Justin Hougham is faculty at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where he supports the delivery of a wide range of science education topics to K-12 students, graduate students, and in-service teachers. Justin’s scholarship is in the areas of place-based pedagogies, STEM education, and education for sustainability. Justin has taught 17 different undergraduate and graduate courses as well as instructed over 1000 days in the field. He continues to teach courses, clinics, and trainings that develop pedagogies in experiential education. Justin’s projects and research in the use of technology in place-based environmental education can be found in journals and in conference presentations throughout the US.

Justin currently is on the leadership teams for several federally funded projects that serve needs in community engaged research focused on culturally responsive environmental science education and leadership. Further, he successfully conducts research into and documentation of educational strategies advancing environmental education and organizational change leadership that supports environmental education innovations. He is actively evolving programming innovation to support development of scholarship and research in education in the urban context and expanding access for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Environmental Science Education.

Prior to his faculty role in Wisconsin, Justin served in leadership roles in environmental education programs in New Mexico, Idaho and Washington. This included a Post doctoral fellowship through a NASA funded climate literacy project as well as research projects on-site in the south pacific and in Greenland. Other projects include field work in Alaska, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, and Costa Rica.
What excites you when you think about the future of Experiential Education?
I am excited to see EE continue to evolve and be more broadly recognized as a pedagogy for change.
Who or what inspires you?
Seeing students take an active and empowered role in their community to solve problems.
In your free time, we can probably find you:
Outside of work, my wife and I are very involved in our 3 kids activities and adventures. We enjoy camping, bike riding and swimming together outside at the many parks and trails around Wisconsin. Personally, I enjoy skiing in the winter and biking when I have the time.
How long have you been involved with AEE?
I have been involved with and going to AEE events since 2004. I consider those first conferences I went to as real turning points in my career and development. I've since brought students to AEE, including SEER, and also my staff. I have reviewed for AEE and published in JEE, as well as helped host conferences for two AEE regions.
What is the most rewarding part about being a Member of AEE?
Being an AEE member has connected me to some of the best colleagues and collaborators in my career- I still learn a lot from them and from AEE members- particularly with respect to the art of facilitation.
Favorite Moment at AEE?
 I am very active in work that integrates justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) in the field of environmental education towards environmental justice. The first training I had related to this was at AEE- at the 2004 conference in Norfolk- which really changed the course of my career.

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