Dr. Elise Gornish, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological Restoration in SNRE, has been honored with the 2019-20 Shirley O?Brien Diversity and Inclusion Award. This award was created in honor of Shirley O'Brien for her exemplary work in promoting diversity and an inclusive environment within Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, across campus, and in the community.
Elise Gornish received this award for her dedication toward inclusion as director of the Girls on outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science (GALS), co-chair of the SNRE's Inclusive Excellence Committee, and mentor to underserved students, including women, POC, and first-generation students. In addition to mentoring high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, Dr. Gornish has served as faculty mentor for the Women in Science group and currently serves the Restoration Ecology Club on campus.
As the Director of GALS, she organizes programming that brings science and leadership education and experience to underserved high school girls. She partners with several organizations that traditionally serve these communities, including the STEM Learning Center, Girl Scouts and SARSEF. GALS is a free science program that integrates outdoor education with hands-on learning. During the program, high school girls from the Tucson, AZ area learn ecology, earth science, and chemistry by exploring their surroundings with graduate students from the University of Arizona. GALS was developed to address the gap in female minorities pursuing STEM degrees and engaging in outdoor activities. GALS aims to: (1) increase science literacy and content knowledge; (2) increase confidence in participants? ability to pursue science interests; and (3) increase self-awareness, teamwork, and leadership skills.To get involved, click here: https://gals.arizona.edu/
Within the School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE), Dr. Gornish co-chairs the UA SNRE Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which attempts to cultivate a community across faculty, staff and students in SNRE that is more inclusive, safe and welcoming. To find out more, click here. Dr. Gornish organizes outreach events, workshops, and publishes white papers to improve scientific communication with the community. You can find out more about outreach in the Gornish lab by visiting gornish.arizona.edu