Science teacher Erika Klose is on a mission: to get more Putnam County kids, especially girls, thinking about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. She presents engaging, student-centered lessons in her classroom at Winfield Middle School (WMS), incorporating technology and focusing on hands-on experiments that encourage students to own their learning. Klose’s students won $10,000 for classroom supplies during last year’s Day of Coding and consistently bring home awards from schoolwide, county and regional science fairs. She recruited U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito and Toyota, a large local employer, to join the school for an assembly about women in STEM, then took a group of girls to a career center to encourage them to explore STEM career options often thought of as traditionally male roles.
A leader at WMS, Klose provides guidance and continuing education for the school’s science teachers, serves as president of the Faculty Senate, and started student clubs for mapping and coding. Colleagues look to Klose for guidance for science matters and beyond. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and National Association of Geoscience Teachers, as well as president-elect of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, and has served on several state science curriculum committees. Klose has presented at national NSTA conferences, the Esri Educational Users Conference and the West Virginia Statewide Technology Conference. A trained geologist, she worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, before entering the classroom.
Klose earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology from Smith College in 1997, a master’s in geological sciences in 1999 from Lehigh University, and a master’s in teaching in 2007 from Marshall University.