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CIRES | Education and Outreach

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Katya Schloesser

Katya Schloesser

Katya Schloesser is an Education and Outreach Associate at CIRES. She works on several projects at CIRES as a curriculum developer, including the Hazard Education Awareness & Resilience Task Force (HEART Force) project and the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) international expedition. Before joining CIRES Education and Outreach, Katya was most recently a middle school earth science teacher at Gunnison Middle School. Before becoming a classroom teacher, Katya worked for the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement where she managed the Learn More About Climate program. Additionally, she managed education and outreach for a multidisciplinary research project on hydraulic fracturing, the AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network. She earned her MA in Geography at CU Boulder studying alpine hydrology, and her BS in Environmental Science and BA in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She’s a passionate educator who seeks to support K-12 educators to teach research-based, hands-on, engaging climate science curriculum.

Professional Preparation

  • Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO : Secondary Science Teacher Licensure, 2018
  • University of Colorado Boulder, CO: Geography; M.A. 2014
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM: Environmental Science, B.S., 2010 and Latin American Studies, B.A., 2010


  • 8th Grade Earth Science Teacher, 2018, Gunnison Middle School, Gunnison, CO
  • Education and Outreach Coordinator, 2014-2018, AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network, CU Boulder, CO
  • Community Outreach Program Manager, 2014-2018, Office for Outreach and Engagement, CU Boulder, CO
  • Bilingual Museum Educator, 2013-2014, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO
  • Science Squad Teacher, 2012-2013, Biological Sciences Initiative, CU Boulder, CO
  • Graduate Research Assistant, 2011-2014, Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research Site, CU Boulder, CO

Synergistic Activities

  • Middle School Earth Science Teacher - Recently earned her secondary science teaching license and taught in an 8th grade Earth Science classroom on the western slope of Colorado. Continues to help coach Science Olympiad, and substitute teach occasionally.
  • Colorado Water Workshop Planning Committee- Working to reimagine the Colorado Water Workshop, a conference at Western Colorado University that has addressed water issues in the west for 40 years. In 2019, the workshop will utilize design thinking to flip the workshop on its head, and ask participants to bravely imagine solutions for water availability in the Colorado River Basin.
  • AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network - Facilitated coordination and collaboration on K-12 and community outreach programs with a multi-institutional multi-disciplinary network of scientists studying the benefits and impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Managed a community small grant program to enable community groups to develop educational programs to address oil and gas development locally.
  • Air Quality Inquiry Program - Managed a high school inquiry project based learning project that partnered CU Boulder engineering students with high school environmental science classrooms to teach students how to use low-cost air quality monitoring technology to complete their own independent research projects.
  • Bartlett Science Communication Center - Co-founded the center at the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex at CU Boulder to provide a resource hub for students, teachers, scientists, and community members for science communication professional development and support.
  • Learn More About Climate - Developed K-12 curriculum, videos, and programming for K-12 teachers and Colorado citizens on climate change.
  • Niwot Ridge Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site - Involved with education and outreach efforts and development of K-12 curriculum based on LTER science. Developed lessons and videos in collaboration with



Publications and Presentations

Knight, D., M. Hannigan, L. Cheadle, and K. Hafich, 2017: Introducing university laboratory tools into K-12 classrooms: Benefits and challenges. Frontiers in Education Conference; Oct 18-21; Indianapolis, IN.

Ladwig, L., Z. Ratajczak, T. Ocheltree, K. Hafich, A. Churchill, S. Frey, C. Fuss, C. Kazanski, J. Munoz, M. Petrie, A. Reinmann, and J. Smith, 2016: Beyond arctic and alpine: the influence of winter on temperate ecosystems. Ecology 97(2), pp. 372-382.

Collier, A., K. Hafich, D. Knight, M. Hannigan, J. Gordon, B. Graves, E. Ambos, O. Cecil, V. Danner, E. Hotaling, E. Lee, D. Meyers, H. Adel Salamah, N. Vanderkolk, E. Cofman, 2016: Air Quality Inquiry Curricular Unit. Teach Engineering. Retrieved from:

Hafich, K., M. Hannigan, W. Martens, J. McDonald, D. Knight, L. Gardiner, A. Collier, H. Fletcher, and M. Polmear, 2015: Building Pipelines for Information: Developing Partnerships Between Scientists, Educators, and Community Groups to Learn More About Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado. Oral Presentation. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting; Dec 14-18; San Francisco, CA.

Erb, P., L. Erb, K. Hafich, and K. Swihart, 2013: ScienceLIVE and BSI: Bringing Lessons Based on Real Science into your Classroom. NSTA Denver Area Conference; Dec 12-14; Denver, CO.