Nate is an educational researcher currently focused on the topics of data science education, and on how people come to know about climate change and why they hold a particular set of beliefs. At Earth Lab, Nate helped organize and implement the Earth Data Science Corps program, leading assessment and evaluation efforts. He is also involved with assessment and program evaluation of the Earth Data Analytics--Foundations Online Professional Graduate Certificate. 


He holds degrees from the University of Iowa in Physics & Astronomy (BS), Civil & Environmental Engineering (MS), and Teaching & Learning/Science Education (PhD). His dissertation focused on 8th grade students' climate literacy, and how their ideas about climate change interact with their epistemic orientations of science (how do we know what we know in science?). Prior to coming to Earth Lab in 2020, Nate taught physics, math, and environmental science at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) in Calmar, Iowa. He also taught an applied earth and environmental science course for preservice science teachers at the University of Iowa. From 2017-2019 Nate helped lead an immersive geoscience field course in Crested Butte, CO also for preservice teachers through the University of Iowa. As a STEM educator, Nate was very active in the two-year college physics teaching community, helping to organize and implement professional development focused on incorporating computational modeling in the physics classroom. He was also an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) where he served as the Iowa AAPT Section Representative, and chair of the AAPT Committee on Physics at the Two-Year College (CPTYC). 


When he’s not working, Nate likes to get outdoors, be it on foot, on a bicycle, or on a snowboard.

Our curriculum teaches skills at the intersection of environmental science and data science, combined with a knowledge of heterogeneous data types, open science approaches, and a suite of “soft” skills needed to communicate and collaborate in interdisciplinary teams. These in-demand skills prepare students and professionals for careers in data intensive science that address a variety of large scale environmental challenges.
Education should be open and available to anyone. The learning portal has over 300 free and open lessons that allow anyone to learn and teach earth data science skills and has tens of thousands of visitors each month.
Earth Lab’s evaluation efforts contribute to the larger field of data science education by identifying best practices surrounding earth data science education in online and in person environments and across diverse demographics.
Our innovative classrooms include an interdisciplinary mix of undergraduate, graduate, and returning professional students who participate in active, collaborative synchronous and asynchronous learning through options for in-person or online courses. This variety in available participation modes supports students by addressing geographic and time constraints that might otherwise limit their access to formal education in earth data science.