Tonya Jeffery, EdD
Dr. Tonya D. Jeffery, serves as the Director of Education at The Harris Foundation (THF) and is the National Camp Director for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC). Prior to joining THF, Tonya was an assistant professor of science education at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) in which she developed and taught scientifically-based and theoretically grounded science education curricula for undergraduate and graduate students, fostered partnerships between university and local schools and school districts, provided STEM professional development to K-12 teachers, served as co-PI of a National Science Foundation grant focused on increasing STEM awareness, content knowledge, and self-efficacy for grades 4-8 students, pre-service, and in-service teachers, as well as served as director of the Coastal Bend Regional Science Fair, which was attended by close to 600 K-12 students annually. Tonya has authored and co-authored over 12 publications, including book chapters, with several STEM-based articles in the National Science Teachers Associations (NSTA) journals Science Scope and Science & Children.
Before her appointment at TAMUCC, Tonya served as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Houston – Main campus for four years with teachHOUSTON (a UTeach program) where she taught and prepared pre-service science teachers to teach inquiry-based, hands-on science lessons in elementary and middle school classrooms. While at the University of Houston, Tonya also served as a Camp Director for the EMBHSSC from 2010-2013, recruiting students and staff, developing curriculum, and assisting with the day to day operations of the program.
Preceding her tenure in higher academia, Tonya was a middle school science teacher in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). While with HISD, she served in various capacities, as a science department chair, campus-based mentor for beginning science teachers, and campus science fair coordinator. In addition, she established the math and science club at her middle school campus and also mentored middle school students in the SECME and GeoFORCE programs.
Her 11 years of experiences as a science educator working with PK-20 administrators, faculty, teachers and students, demonstrated commitment to high quality STEM teaching, scholarship, and service to the education profession, will enable her to manage the various educational programs and initiatives at The Harris Foundation.
Tonya is passionate about supporting and helping the needs of underrepresented and diverse student populations, and increasing PK-12 STEM awareness, interest, content knowledge, and self-efficacy. She believes these components are critical aspects to making an impact and difference in the world and for any educational program charged with increasing the number of students, especially minority females, who pursue STEM-related careers.
She holds an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with a special emphasis in Science Education from the University of Houston – Main campus.