Meet the Coaches!
Ski coaching provides the root network for all that I do and am! It is from my athletes that I gain inspiration, perspective, and humility. They ground me, challenge me and make me want to know more, be more and do more. I have coached the University of Wyoming Men’s and Women’s ski team for 24 years; I have been the head coach Team USA at the World University Games in Turkey, Italy, Slovakia, Kazakhstan and Russia. In 2019, I co-designed the International Nordic Ski Training Program. Through this program, student athletes from Shanghai become teammates with the UW skiers. They learn to Nordic ski at an elite level, and evolve their coaching skills and pedagogy through a course that I co-developed called The Art and Science of Nordic Ski Racing. I am most proud of my work to braid together skiing and scholarship through the development of action learning courses including Skiing and Climate Change, Environmental Assessment of an International Athletic Event and The Body as Planet, The Planet as a Body and From Dysbiosis to Pluriversbiosis. In this video, I speak to skiing and environmental change and I believe my TEDx Talk embodies so much more.
In her day job, Rachel is a Senior Academic Professional Lecturer in UW’s Chemistry Department and Microbiology Program. She is the Director of the Learning Actively Mentoring Program (LAMP), a holistic training program that immerses educators in learner-centered, evidence-based pedagogical practices. Rachel also directs the Queer Studies minor program within School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice.
Rachel’s research centers on active, inclusive learning modalities. Her most recent manuscript (submitted summer 2022) reports on factors that affect students’ feelings of inclusion in active learning courses taught by LAMP-trained instructors. She is part of an international research team that studies learner self-assessment. Utilizing a knowledge survey called the Science Literacy Concept Inventory, this team has collected more than 25,000 measures of learner’s competence (knowledge) and self-assessed competence (confidence). This research has disproved the long-held hypothesis, called the Dunning-Kruger effect, that posited that most people are overconfident as compared to their actual competence. Rachel was lead author on a publication in this series which, in addition to further supporting the merit of learner self-assessment, utilized self-assessment measures to enable better understanding of privilege.
Rachel embeds social and environmental justice into every class she teaches. This is particularly poignant in her Microbiology Capstone course that she designed, developed, implemented and assessed and that has now evolved into a transdisciplinary course. Students in this course use field-based, wet lab and computational techniques to seek solutions to community problems.
In her twenty years of teaching at UW, Rachel has received nearly fifty teaching awards including the University of Wyoming’s highest teaching honor called the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. She is also the recipient of the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice Faculty Award and the Own It: Women in Science Committee Choice Award.
Rachel knits together her love of science educational development with her social justice passion as the PI for the University of Wyoming’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Inclusive Excellence Challenge (the HHMI IE3). This proposal advanced to the next stage of the competition; UW is fortunate to be one of only fifteen institutions nationwide to be part of a national learning community re-envisioning inclusive collaborations between 2-year and 4-year institutions.
I am a teacher.
It is what I aspire to, what I love, and all I have ever wanted to be. Although teaching is a small piece of my job description it guides and informs all I do. Whether I am teaching a course, training Nordic ski athletes or working with faculty I see myself first and foremost as a teacher. My teaching style is cooperative and exploratory with moments of chaos and moments of structure. I am but a stepping stone in the path of each person's journey. I hope to provide intellectual, emotional, and physical sustenance that allows each individual to find her/his own way; the key to a door; the ride across the river; the sword with which to slay the dragon. My hope is that those with whom I share a journey go on to wondrous and successful adventures and return to teach me what they have learned.
I am a coach.
I started coaching immediately after completing my undergraduate degree in Biology. I coached High School Cross Country Running, Cross Country Skiing and Track for several years as I trained Biathlon. For the past twenty-four years, I have been the volunteer co-coach of the Men's and Women's Nordic Ski Team and in 2017 worked to create SNOW. In that time, the UW Nordic Team has skied to thirteen United States Collegiate Championship team titles, twenty-one individual titles and boasts 158 Academic All-Americans. In 2011, 2013, 2015 & 2017 and 2019, the team represented the USA at the World University Games in Turkey, Italy, Slovakia, Kazakhstan and Russia. For the Slovakia and Kazakhstan games, I co-designed and co-taught an integrated curriculum course called ‘Environmental Assessment of an International Event’ and in 2019, ‘Earth as Body, Body as Planet’. Fall 2019 I have had the fantastic opportunity to co-teach a course that meshes two of my passions, teaching and coaching, into ‘The Art and Science of Nordic Ski Racing’. I have also had the opportunity to broaden my coaching as we invited 10 student athletes from Shanghai University of Sport who joined us for a year to learn how to ski race and coach. As a coach I was honored in 2019 as the recipient of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association Coach of the Year and in 2010 I was inducted to the Lake County Sports Hall of Fame
Coaching is a labor of love!
I am a Social & Environmental Justice Warrior.
To me this means honoring all ways of knowing and being. I work to create an environment which is safe and supportive and within which the magnificent variety of human experience and difference is celebrated. This includes ways of being and knowing that are connected to spirituality, the earth, the environment, nature… everything in an interconnected web of beauty. Social Justice includes challenging and breaking down systemic and personal barriers to individuals and groups so that everyone has the ability to realize their own dreams.
I am an Educational Developer and instructor.
I am an instructor in the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice and Kinesiology and Health. I am also the Associate Director of Digital Teaching and Learning at the University of Wyoming Ellbogen Center for teaching and Learning. As an Educational Developer I teach and work with faculty in the area of technology as an inclusive pedagogy. I have taught numerous workshops on diverse instructional topics as well as inclusive pedagogy. I especially enjoy working with faculty, helping them create and master tools and techniques to assist them in actively and inclusively engaging their students for deeper learning.
I am passionate about what I do and inspired every day by the students, athletes, faculty, and staff with whom I work.