Natalie Harr Ylizarde is an early childhood educator with twelve years of experience in public education, STEM teacher leadership, and national education policy. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in science education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests include STEM early learning, climate change education, and teacher professional development.
Ylizarde received a B.S.Ed. in early childhood education from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio in 2004 and began her career as a kindergarten (2004-2007) and first grade teacher (2007-2015) at Crestwood Primary School in Mantua, Ohio. Since she found science the most challenging subject to teach young children, Ylizarde sought out educational programs to improve her pedagogical content knowledge in the sciences, including an environmental science course (directed by Dr. Richard Lee) held at the Yellowstone-Grand Teton Parks. In 2009 she went on to earn a M.A.T. in biological science from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
Ylizarde’s most notable work is the Crestwood-Antarctica Connection that chronicles her experiences as the teacher liaison working on Dr. Lee’s scientific research team at Palmer Station, Antarctica. In 2011-2012 Ylizarde was invited to join the five-person team to Antarctica where she spent six weeks away from her first grade classroom supporting research on Belgica antarctica, the world’s southernmost free-living insect.
On a national level,Ylizarde was awarded the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching by President Obama at the White House. Ylizarde twice served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow (2013-2015) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, D.C. Natalie’s role was to provide practical teaching expertise to help inform and support federally funded educational programs and policies.
She is thrilled to be a member of Dr. Lee’s 2017 Antarctic research team. This is her 3rd trip to the Antarctic, and she looks forward to connecting schools, educators, and science enthusiasts with the team’s research and extraordinary polar experience.
Check out these photos of Natalie below!