We said goodbye to one staff member and welcomed another this fall.

Dr. Claudia Bode was appointed on November 1 to direct education, outreach and diversity efforts for the Kansas NSF EPSCoR office. She brings with her 15 years of experience as the education director for the University of Kansas Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC).

“Claudia has a distinguished career in creating and leading a host of programs that demonstrate her commitment to educating all ages in science and engineering,” said Kristin Bowman-James, director for the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Track 1 initiative.

Bode replaces Rosemary Blum, former education, outreach and diversity coordinator for the Kansas NSF EPSCoR program.

Blum left her position last summer to become an academic interventionist at Southwest Middle School in Lawrence, Kansas. She currently helps teachers support students who may have had limited learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.  She also mentors new teachers, helping foster their professional development and showing them how to use data to drive instruction. 

“It is a new and evolving position, and I love being back in the classroom and working with both students and teachers again,” said Blum.

Bowman-James is grateful for Blum’s work during her seven years with the Kansas NSF EPSCoR office, especially praising her efforts in providing elementary school teachers with science lessons and holding workshops for high school science teachers with Dr. Peggy Schultz, associate specialist for the Kansas Biological Survey.

“We will always remember Rosemary fondly and wish her all the best in her new career,” said Bowman-James.

Bode will oversee, promote, and develop education, outreach, and diversity initiatives for the Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award OIA-1656006: Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas (MAPS). A key goal will be to raise awareness of the program by effectively communicating its activities within Kansas to vital stakeholders and beyond Kansas to other EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Photo of Dr. Bode in Colorado

Learn More About Claudia Bode

Claudia Bode (rhymes with Cody) is a first-generation college student, born, raised, and educated in Kansas. She has broad experience teaching, mentoring, writing, recruiting, researching, and presenting, with a focus on empowering those around her.

Growing up as the youngest of eight, a career in science was neither encouraged nor understood.  But strong mentors helped Bode chart a course from a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Washburn University to a doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Kansas.

In 2003, an NIH postdoctoral fellowship gave her the opportunity to study stem cells and teach at Haskell Indian Nations University. It was here where she found her zeal for encouraging students of all ages to pursue science and engineering.

Bode went on to direct education and outreach efforts at KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis for 15 years. She played a key role in crafting proposals with faculty across campus for dozens of federally funded projects, including a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program, a Research Experiences for Undergraduates site, two EPSCoR Track-2 grants, and an NSF initiative for Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL).

Bode’s early career was shaped by a seed grant from the Kansas NSF EPSCoR in 2008. This small grant gave four high school teachers a chance to do research at KU, and it gave Bode the confidence to compete nationally for a larger award to expand the program. She went on to co-lead not one, but three NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) sites from 2009 to 2021. Roughly 80 teachers and hundreds of students across Kansas have been positively impacted by these programs.

One of Bode’s proudest achievements includes creating initiatives for inclusion and diversity at KU. She sites her involvement with the Society for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) as giving her the strength of purpose to be an agent for systemic change.

When not at work, you might find her quoting Harry Potter, knitting mittens, or singing Broadway musicals with her husband and two daughters.