Merinda Davis teaches social studies and Latinos in Action at Lakeridge Jr. High School in Orem, Utah. She teaches geography through the lens of sustainability. Students learn how everything, past to present, no matter the geographical location, is connected through sustainability. Recently, Merinda was given the privilege as one of twenty-four international educators invited to attend the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. The experience has improved her instruction so that students better understand how their actions, no matter how small, add up to something big.
As an active educator; Department Chair, District Leadership Committee, and state International Education Committee, Merinda is dedicated to education innovation. After experiencing the world first hand through international teacher fellowships, partnerships with Adobe Youth Voices, Going Global Projects and funding from the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation, Merinda brings the world into her classroom. She has established global connections for her students in Japan, South Korea, Pakistan and Finland. She said that in collaborating with their international peers, students learn that their actions can have a global impact. Through these opportunities and as a National Geographic Grosvenor Fellow, Merinda is excited that she will be able to do more environmental projects, especially with students who have less.
Living in Utah has allowed Merinda to embrace her love of the outdoors by camping, hiking and kayaking in some of the most unique landscapes on earth. She has brought this same passion into her classroom, engaging students in their community through projects and real world problem solving. Her primary goal as a National Geographic Grosvenor Fellow is to empower students to become global citizens, environmental stewards and to have a positive impact on the world.
Donell Willey currently teaches social studies at Lakeridge Jr. High School in Orem Utah. His interest in sustainability dates back to childhood where he was raised on a dairy farm in central Utah. He has raised and milked goats, making his own soaps and cheeses and has made wines and vinegars from a micro-vineyard. He has harvested honey from his own hives and has gardened organically for many years. He began the Model United Nations program at his school and began a school-wide Sustainability MUN conference in 2001 that has continued, uninterrupted, to the present. Part of his AP Human Geography curriculum involves a 3-day Sustainability Retreat where professionals and experts present TED-type presentations and interact with the students. He participated in the 2011 Fulbright Japan-US ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) teacher exchange where he studied and exchanged perspectives in sustainable education.