My wife and I returned to the U.S. from Europe in summer 2000 intending to pursue post-graduate degrees in education. Toward these ends, we once again put down temporary roots in East Lansing, Michigan where I returned to the Okemos Public School District and continued in my previous role as a middle school science teacher.

While at Okemos I began working with Michigan State University’s Department of Teacher Education as a mentor science teacher and adjunct instructor. I also began consulting with the Colorado-based Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) on a curriculum project for the teaching and learning of evolution and natural selection. In 2004, I was given an award by Michigan’s State University’s local Sigma Xi chapter (a scientific research society) for innovation and excellence in science education.

During this period, I also began taking masters-level courses in the Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) program at Eastern Michigan University, as well as an Environmental Education course through Northern Michigan University.