After Corey Schindler graduates, he has a job lined up as a seed production intern working with soybeans. He’s ready, thanks in part to professor Martha Mamo.
“I’ve actually learned a lot about soybeans in this class and what they need for fertilizer nutrients so this class has definitely been a big help and I’ve told Martha about it and she’s helped me apply that, too, to my job in the future,” he said.
Mamo’s innovative teaching methods and relevant research contribute to Mamo’s success – and her choice as the recipient of NU’s 2015 Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award. The OTICA recognizes individual faculty who have demonstrated meritorious and sustained records of excellence and creativity in teaching.
Mamo’s courses in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have been credited with inspiring student interest in soil sciences. Among colleagues, Mamo is known as an educator willing to share teaching tips that lead to changes in other faculty classrooms.
She is also a successful researcher, having secured funding for studies on sorghum production systems in Africa and she co-developed a global food security course. Mamo teaches instructional efforts with farmers in Ethiopia and is currently developing online lessons in earth and environmental sciences.
For her classes, Mamo has developed interactive computer modules. The National Science Foundation supports the development of several of Mamo’s lessons that can be used alone or integrated into the classroom. The online material engages students.
“That’s what they’re used to and it’s a platform and a resource that they’re accustomed to so it’s not that difficult to integrate,” she said. “With that said, though, you still have to have a good course design, a pedagogic approach to implementing technology in the classroom.
Students benefit from Mamo’s research in soil management. Her work extends from food security issues in Africa to the affect of grazing on nutrient cycling in the Nebraska Sand Hills.
“Depending on the topic and the context, I integrate what I have in research into my classroom,” she said. “I’m big on looking at data and having students think about the information and looking at the variables and what trends they are looking at so I use my data or those of others in my classroom.”