Calabrese Barton receives civic engagement award

November 20, 2014

Angela Barton

In early November, Angela Calabrese Barton, professor in the Department of Teacher Education, was honored with the 2013-14 MSU Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award. She received the annual award for her long-standing service with GET City, an after school science program for Lansing youth.

GET City helps to provide a year-round program designed to engage Lansing-area youth from underrepresented backgrounds in conducting investigations and taking action on local engineering problems of global concern. Calabrese Barton has worked with the organization since 2007, alongside her husband Scott Calabrese Barton from the College of Engineering. GET City–or Green Energy Technologies in the City–is a collaboration of faculty and graduate students from MSU and the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing staff.

The best part of the whole project for Calabrese Barton is the transformation she is able to see.

“Each and every year, [we] watch young people in the program grow in their STEM knowledge and civic agency,” Calabrese Barton said. “To see youth pursue new ideas and designs with depth and purpose–and indeed struggle, and then to succeed in their work in ways that they are proud of is wonderful.”

GET City children marvel at a science demonstration from Danny Birmingham (PhD '13 - Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education).

GET City children marvel at a science demonstration from Danny Birmingham (PhD ’13 – Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education).

She also points to a quote from one 11-year-old who had presented a design innovation at the Edith and Eli Broad Art Museum on MSU’s campus as part of the reason she loves working with the program so much: “People will love my solar-powered light-up scooter! People will say ‘Who made this? The tiny person who is always in the background did this?’ It’s awesome! Little kids can do ginormous works!”

Over the years, GET City has assisted hundreds of Lansing youth in investigating locally and globally relevant issues in green energy.

The Service Learning and Civic Engagement Award recognizes those who have demonstrated innovative effort in the area of academic, curricular or co-curricular service learning or civic engagement related to the mission and efforts of their college. It is awarded by the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.