The development of North Dakota-specific energy curriculum was championed through the efforts of the EmPower ND Commission - a group comprised of leaders from all of the state's energy industries. The group saw a need for greater awareness among students, parents and career counselors about the tremendous opportunities for young people in the energy industry as well as increased awareness about the incredible energy resources located right here in our own backyard. Another goal of this project is to also encourage development of an incoming workforce with a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. The EmPower Commission enlisted the help of Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence to take on management of the Energy Curriculum Project in January 2013 and the pieces fell into place to create what you see today. Through the efforts of many stakeholders, ENERGY: Powered by North Dakota is finally here and free for all to use.
Emily McKay is the Director of the Great Plains Energy Corridor at Bismarck State College's National Energy Center of Excellence. McKay joined the Energy Corridor in 2011 and is responsible for the Corridor's communications, event planning and grant administration. A former Peace Corps volunteer, McKay has worked in the energy industry for more than nine years, most recently at Basin Electric Power Cooperative. McKay grew up in Jamestown, N.D., and graduated from the University of Mary in 2002 and the Bismarck-Mandan Leadership program in 2010. McKay also serves as Project Director of the TREND Consortium at Bismarck State College which supports training and education for energy careers in North Dakota and is a board member for the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy.
Gwyn S. Herman, Ph.D.
Gwyn S. Herman, Ph.D. is a co-developer for the Energy: Powered by North Dakota curricula for grades 4 and 8. Dr. Herman, a native of Beulah, North Dakota, has 39 years of teaching experience, including 16 years in fourth grade, 10 years in high school, and 13 years as an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Mary, where she taught undergraduate and graduate education courses and served as Program Director of Elementary Education before her retirement in 2013. Dr. Herman and co-author, Laverne Johnson, have been developing North Dakota Studies curricula since 2006, working in collaboration with the State Historical Society of North Dakota to research and write grade 4 North Dakota Studies books with accompanying activities and teacher resource guides. They include Geology, Geography, and Climate; American Indians of North Dakota; Frontier Era of North Dakota; Early Settlement of North Dakota; Citizenship; and North Dakota Agriculture. In addition, Dr. Herman and Ms. Johnson co-authored Habitats of North Dakota, which included the following five books: Riparian Areas; Wetlands; Woodlands; Prairie; and Badlands. This five-volume series won the 2009 North Dakota Library Association's Notable Document Award. Dr. Herman was the lead activities contributor for North Dakota: People Living on the Land, a grade 8 North Dakota Studies curriculum developed by the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Laverne Johnson, M.S.
Laverne Johnson, M.S. is a co-developer for the Energy: Powered by North Dakota curricula for grades 4 and 8. Ms. Johnson grew up on a farm in central North Dakota and has lived in the state for most of her life. Her educational experience includes 23 years as an elementary and middle school teacher, 10 years as a high school speech/language pathologist, and 8 years at the university level, where she worked closely with classroom teachers as a supervisor of pre-service and student teachers. Ms. Johnson and associate, Gwyn Herman, have worked as curriculum developers for North Dakota Studies since 2006, co-authoring grade 4 books with accompanying activities and teacher resource guides: Geology, Geography, and Climate; American Indians of North Dakota; Frontier Era of North Dakota; Early Settlement of North Dakota; Citizenship; and North Dakota Agriculture. In addition, Ms. Johnson and Dr. Herman co-authored Habitats of North Dakota, which includes the following five books: Riparian Areas; Wetlands; Woodlands; Prairie; and Badlands. In 2009, this series won the North Dakota Library Association's Notable Document Award. Ms. Johnson was an activities contributor for North Dakota: People Living on the Land, a grade 8 North Dakota Studies curriculum developed by the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Spotlight & Careers Development
Kim Christianson is from Bismarck, ND and, after many years of working with programs related to North Dakota energy, is gainfully retired. His most recent employment was as Director of the Great Plains Energy Corridor office at Bismarck State College (BSC). Prior to his position with BSC, Mr. Christianson was the Manager of the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for the North Dakota Department of Commerce. At the Dept. of Commerce, he supervised the managers of the state's Weatherization program and State Energy Program, along with the activities of the state energy engineer. He also administered the state buildings energy efficiency program, was actively involved with wind energy development in North Dakota, and tracked state and federal legislation pertaining to energy efficiency and renewable development. He had been employed with the State of North Dakota since 1982, except for a brief stint with the Denver Regional Office of the Department of Energy.
Mr. Christianson is currently on the board and serves as President for the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy (NDARE). He is a native of Jamestown, ND and graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks with a degree in Speech Communications.
Spotlight & Careers Development
Gail Christianson earned a B.A. in geography from Moorhead State College. She has taught in both public and private schools in Jamestown and Bismarck, ND. Gail spent 28 years as an elementary classroom teacher, primarily in 5th grade, in the Bismarck Public School system. She served as a K-3 math coach for BPS for three years before retiring in 2013.