Advocate Interview: Loree Harvey of Monte Vista, Colorado - Society for Science Skip to content


Advocate Interview: Loree Harvey of Monte Vista, Colorado

By Kevin Easterly

Loree Harvey conducting field research with a student.
Loree Harvey is a Lead Advocate from Monte Vista, Colorado. National Geographic/Science Fair: The Series

Through the Advocate Program, the Society offers professional development and support to educators around the country to support their efforts to provide opportunities to students in STEM, especially in entering science research competitions. As part of this unique professional development opportunity, Advocates receive training and support from Society staff, peer mentorship, a stipend and a paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend our Advocate Training Institute. The program’s goal is to connect educators working to close STEM gaps in the United States—and create a lasting community of support.

To share more about the Advocate experience, we caught up with Loree Harvey, who is now in her third year of the program. As a Lead Advocate, she serves as a resource and mentor to newer Advocates. You may also recognize Loree from her role in Science Fair: The Series, in which she helped guide several of her students to complete at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

Learn more about Loree and her time in the Advocate Program in our interview below.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I am currently in my 20th year at the Monte Vista School District, teaching life sciences and student research at the high school. I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology, with an emphasis in amphibian physiology. Before becoming a teacher, I worked extensively with several state and federal agencies in wetlands and terrestrial ecology, as well as wildlife restoration and management. I also currently contract as a Wildlife Biologist for the Bureau of Land Management, monitoring habitat and wildlife in the San Luis Valley’s half-a-million acres of BLM land during summers.

What has your experience as an Advocate been like? What was your favorite part of the Advocate Training Institute?

I have truly enjoyed being both an Advocate and Lead Advocate in the years that I have participated in this outstanding program. The Advocate Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for motivated teachers to grow and expand their student research programs and improve their outreach to under-represented student groups. This in turn helps students who may never have had exposure to research opportunities try their hand at scientific investigation and hopefully experience excitement and success and consider future careers in STEM.

What is your favorite part of the Advocate Training Institute?

My favorite part of the Advocate Training Institute is meeting such a wide array of fantastic teachers from across the country and sharing their excitement and ideas for bringing research opportunities to students.

In your role as a Culture-Shift Advocate, you’re working to build a community that promotes STEM exploration and achievement, not only among students but also potentially expanding beyond. What has your strategy been in achieving your goals?

As I’ve provided research training and opportunities to students within my program, I’ve taken great pride in attempting to help teachers not only within our district, but also those in neighboring districts who wish to build and expand research programs of their own, and get kids excited about science. It is my strong desire to help all kids learn about science, regardless of what school they attend, because the ultimate goal of solving the big problems we face as a society and nation today is an informed, scientifically literate citizenry. That is only accomplished when science is available, accessible and understood by all, and I want that more than I can express.

The Advocate Program has provided critical funding and support to help me achieve not only my specific student research goals, but also the larger objective of helping my peers expand their programs and recruit students from across our geographical area.

Can you tell us in a few words why you’re passionate about STEM education? How has the Advocate Program supported you in your work?

In only a few words? That’s tough but let me try! When students acquire a deeper understanding of STEM, they learn to think critically, trust data and see facts for what they are, avoiding the haze of science misinformation that seems to dominate many media outlets. I believe that the Advocate Program is completely aligned with this mission and supports teachers who wish to train students to become critical, analytical thinkers.

Why would you recommend other educators apply for the Advocate Program?

The Advocate Program is a phenomenal opportunity to join a network of smart, innovative, like-minded peers. In the Advocate Program, you’ll learn about the many research competitions that are available for students and the effective and powerful strategies that other brilliant teachers are using to enhance student research. It is a professional development opportunity that is like no other, and the benefits and rewards of being involved with such a group will last for a teacher’s entire career.

What gives you hope for the future?

That we, as adults, are modeling and teaching kids not to give up.  As I journey through my teaching career, I see that those very students who learned this lesson are pushing forward and expanding the bounds of what we know, and what we can do as responsible stewards of this planet. That gives me tremendous hope.

Learn more about the Advocate Program and how to apply here:



Kevin Easterly