DR. CHRIS VANAGS
Christopher Vanags serves as the Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach where he works to bridge the gap between scientific research and K-12 education. Dr. Vanags draws from his experience as a scientist to build partnerships between researchers and educators to foster research-based experiences in STEM. Over the last ten years, Dr. Vanags has worked with hundreds of scientists across the Vanderbilt campus to broaden the impacts of their research by providing educational experiences for thousands of K-12 students throughout the region. As one of the four founding faculty of the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, Dr. Vanags has received numerous accolades for his teaching and scholarship including the Excellence in Earth Science Teaching from the Geological Society of America, the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher for Tennessee, and he was a finalist for Australia’s Young Water Scientist of the Year. His research-based programs have been incorporated or adapted in educational institutions throughout the district and across the country. These programs also provide the framework for a comprehensive STEM reform effort in the United Arab Emirates where Dr. Vanags manages a project to improve the workforce capacity by focusing on STEM education in secondary schools. As a researcher, Dr. Vanags has attracted over $15 million in funding and has published his work on a wide range of educational and environmental topics. He is also the co-founder and associate editor of the journal Young Scientist, which publishes innovative research performed by high school students working in university labs. Apart from serving on the Board of Urban Green Lab, Dr. Vanags has served on various advisory panels for the Metro Nashville Government and currently serves on the Tennessee Environmental Literacy Council and Governor Bill Haslam’s STEM Industry Advisory Council. Dr. Vanags earned a BS in Geology and a MS in Soil Science from the University of Georgia and a PhD in Hydrology and Catchment Management from the University of Sydney.