Currently working on behalf of USDA through a grant to Cornell University, Corinne (Corey) Rutzke serves as program director for a coordinated series of summer workshops for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) teachers (grades 6-undergraduate level). The workshops are held at 9 sites across the northeast. Rutzke also develops written training materials and hands-on teaching tools used in the workshops and classrooms. Annually the program serves approximately 90 teachers in the Northeast and reaches over 1200 students each year.
"I find that the field of Agriculture is uniquely suited to serve as an educational platform because Agricultural offers the most touchable, recognizable, relevant aspects of every-day life, and at the same time, offers abstract-thinking challenges that are at the cutting edge of science, engineering, technology and math. Agriculture offers a solid, familiar footing from which students can launch their own explorations in understanding. That's what our program is about. "
During previous work with the Controlled Environment Agriculture program at Cornell University, Rutzke was responsible for designing, conducting and reporting on experiments toward commercial development of spinach, tomato, and lettuce production from a controlled environment agriculture system. Rutzke developed a method for reducing oxalic acid content of spinach in hydroponic systems (to make more calcium available) and conducted training sessions for the South Pole Station greenhouse operators. Prior to studying and working at Cornell University, Corey worked at Kennedy Space Center, supporting Space Shuttle program life sciences projects in roles ranging from curriculum development and training for educational programs for university students, plant-growth flight hardware development, and astronaut/cosmonaut crew training. Rutzke enjoys working with the combination of agriculture and education for people of all ages. Corey and her husband Mike operate a small farm (dairy goats, chickens, maple syrup) with their two children in Ithaca, NY.