Professor Bill Carstensen has received the 2016 Distinguished Mentor Award from the National Council for Geographic Education.

Carstensen cites his work developing summer field experiences for K-12 teachers as the primary reason for the award. This summer institute, organized through the Virginia Geographic Alliance, is designed to equip teachers, many of whom do not have a geography background, to teach geography in their classrooms.

“This is an extremely powerful experience because teachers visited many places that they would probably not see normally,” explained Carstensen, whose goal is to help educators understand the value of geography education. “The best mentoring comes from helping teachers to ‘be there’ and experience a place with all of their senses and emotions.”

Of the Distinguished Mentor Award, Carstensen shared, “It’s so rewarding to feel as though you’re making a difference. To take a teacher who, often without prior geographic education, feels forced to teach geography and turn that person into someone who wants to teach geography is very exciting. Nothing feels better than that.”

Read the full press release.