EWU Geoscience Teaching Assistant Wins National Award

March 31, 2023

EWU’s McKenna Ives recently was one of just 10 students nationally to receive a highly competitive Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).

The NAGT awards up to 30 TAs annually, but for 2023 that number was cut to 10. Any geoscience TA working towards their bachelor’s or master’s degree in the U.S. is eligible. Ives, a junior majoring in environmental science biology with a minor in sustainability and a geoscience certificate in environmental justice, is also in the EWU Honors Program and has worked with the geosciences club. In addition, last summer she worked as an intern for the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington, where she participated in environmental research involving deep sea hydrothermal vents.

Ives was nominated by Eastern’s Nigel Davies, instructional technician of geosciences, and Sharen Keattch, a senior lecturer of geology.

“We count ourselves as very lucky to have her reliable help and look forward to her continuing this role during her final year at Eastern,“ Davies and Keattch wrote in their recommendation letter to NAGT.

Ives has been working with Keattch as a TA for almost two years, and has worked with Davies on several geoscience projects. “The classes and professors I’ve had truly made my time here,” Ives says.

In addition to being recognized for her distinguished efforts, Ives was sent a certificate and a one year subscription to the NAGT magazine.

“It felt amazing to win this award,” says Ives. “I am very proud of the work I’ve done as a TA in the Geoscience Department and I am honored to have had the opportunity to show my hard work, dedication, and love. This award feels like an acknowledgment of the culmination of all of those.”

After graduation Ives plans to pursue a master’s degree. Then, she hopes to work on professional projects relating to sustainability, climate change and human relationships with the environment.

“I have always loved our beautiful earth and I know my future lies in doing something to understand and maintain it for the future,” says Ives, who was born Maple Valley and has lived in Spokane for the past 10 years.“I want to thank Nigel and Sharen for nominating me and having me in their department. It’s been a true privilege to work for and with them these past few years!”