Montana Science Teaching Institute Coordinator
Cara Grula brings a wealth of scientific expertise and a deep passion for education as the Montana Science Teaching Institute Coordinator at Ecology Project International (EPI). Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Cara now calls Missoula, Montana, home, where she continues to make a lasting impact on the field of environmental education.
Before transitioning to her role as a public school biology teacher, Cara embarked on a fascinating journey as a field scientist. Her research pursuits took her on diverse paths, from studying mucosal immunology in mice to exploring the inland waters of Iowa. She also collaborated with the Bureau of Land Management on White Bark Pine research and examined bee behavior in conjunction with Cornell University. Additionally, Cara gained valuable experience working on a small-scale farm in Moab, Utah. These experiences shaped her holistic understanding of the natural world and the interconnectedness of its ecosystems.
Cara's educational background is equally impressive, with a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Iowa State University, a Master's degree in Environmental Education from the University of Montana, and a Master's degree in Secondary Education from Black Hills State University. Her multidisciplinary knowledge enables her to approach teaching with a comprehensive perspective, connecting science with environmental stewardship.
Prior to joining EPI as a staff member, Cara interned with the organization, where she played a vital role in analyzing the effectiveness of the curriculum. This experience further fueled her passion for experiential education and deepened her appreciation for the dedicated team at EPI. Not to mention the added bonus of working alongside adorable office dogs, which never failed to bring joy to her days.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Cara finds solace and inspiration in the great outdoors. She spends her free time hiking, rafting, and immersing herself in nature's beauty. Cara is also actively involved in the community as a board member of the Western Montana Community Center, furthering her commitment to fostering inclusive and supportive environments. Cara's rich background in scientific research, coupled with her educational expertise and dedication to experiential education, makes her an invaluable asset to the Ecology Project International team, and her enthusiasm for teaching and love for the natural world are infectious!