My name is Laura Preston. I typically teach all ages and several different courses, including Earth and Space Science, Physics, Conceptual Physics, Meteorology, Intro Chemistry, Geology, and Astronomy. I have been teaching about 26 years now. This is my second career, as I am also a geologist, and continue to work and keep in touch with the industry during the summers. I work with the University of NH and local geophysical firms.
I am originally a southern girl, from Orlando, Florida. I moved to Dallas, Texas when I was 18 and went to school at the University of Texas in Arlington, Texas. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Geology in 1986. I worked for a small geophysical company in Dallas when I first graduated, and then went to work as a geologist at Sun Exploration and Production. My husband and I met and married in 1989. I stayed at Sun (ORYX Energy Co.) until I had my second child. It was a good time for me to begin my family, and I decided to stay at home with my children. I went back to school and received my teaching degree in 1994. I earned a Masters in Geoscience at Mississippi State University (online) in August of 2012.
I love adventure, and have been able to enjoy experiences with UNH and other entities. For example, a few years ago I was part of a research cruise on the R/V Atlantis (and the Jason and Alvin subs). It was a blast! We set out for the East Pacific Rise from Manzanillo, Mexico, and sailed back to San Diego, California 37 days later. I was responsible for writing a blog, keeping “watch,” and helping with general tasks when data was collected, including cutting and cataloging rock samples. I learned so much and have brought the experience back to my students. If you want to check out the cruise, here is the link: https://nicholas.duke.edu/oscexpedition/dispatches.html
I also worked with a civil engineering professor at UNH a few years ago and created her million dollar lab (making asphalt) into a $1000 lab for my classroom! Students had competitions making asphalt samples and testing the porosity and strength of their creations.
As a by-product of my masters degree, I created two outdoor study areas near the school. One is a wetland study and the other is a garden that includes ozone sensitive plants (data is uploaded to the national Park Service) as well as a monitor that collects and uploads the data to Google Earth. Students help collect data in both areas and upload data to the respective databases. These are long term projects that my students help with throughout the year.
Recently, I was published in the book Dive In! for innovative inquiry lessons in my classroom, and was nominated and selected as New Englands' Outstanding Teacher of the Year (2017) by the National Geoscience Teachers Association.
In my (ha,ha) spare time I enjoy dancing, exercising, reading, snow skiing, and hiking. My family loves to travel, but mostly seeing the sites of the beautiful United States.