Assam born Environmental activist-cum- Graduate Teaching Assistant of Arizona State University Rachna Nath has received the honorable mention of Presidential innovation award for environmental education on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of her outstanding dedication and leadership in the field of environmental education 2019.
Lee Tanner, Chief of Staff, the office of public engagement and Environmental Protection Agency presented the honorable mention to Rachna Nath.
Since she began teaching at Arizona College Preparatory – Erie, Rachna Nath has been an environmental advocate working to enrich her students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills through the use of research-based, place-based, and claim- evidence and reasoning methods. Rachna’s science curriculum, which she calls ‘Dream Research Innovate and Project-based Learning’ (DRIPbL), challenges students to solve real-world environmental problems by conducting research-based experiments. Rachna incorporates unique strategies to engage her students, including limiting class rules to foster an open environment for student and teacher interaction; creating innovative ways for students to share their knowledge with peers, such as writing poetry, songs, and podcasts; participating in hands-on activities, and participating in field trips.
Rachna’s students are working with the Arizona Department of Environmental Protection to increase awareness about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and to develop a reusable, organic, VOC-free air freshener. They also organize e-waste collection events and are developing an anti-swarming bee agent using household herbs and spices. They are building a sustainable hydroponics garden using milk cartons from the school’s cafeteria and an outdoor sustainable garden on the school’s campus.
Rachna is continually seeking sponsors and funding for her students’ environmental sustainability projects. She has secured several grants, including the Society for Science research grant and a Flinn Foundation grant to develop a biophysics pipeline to Arizona a State University.