Two West Middle School teachers to serve as National Geographic Geo-Inquiry Ambassadors

In recognition of their commitment to geographic education, Shelley Rath and Amber Robbins were selected among 104 middle school educators across the country to become a National Geographic Geo-Inquiry Ambassadors. More than ever, our world is inter-connected and today’s students need to understand how the complex and dynamic human and natural systems interact in order to make smart decisions and function effectively. The Geo-Inquiry Process empowers middle school educators and students to use geographic thinking and geospatial tools to solve complex real world problems in their communities. This process endeavors to help students develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of an explorer.

This past June, they traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National Geographic Geo-Inquiry Institute at National Geographic headquarters where they were trained how to help empower students to make a difference in their communities. Throughout the week they met with National Geographic’s Education team, National Geographic Explorers and experts at National Geographic in the fields of data collection, photography, videography and mapping to complete the first step in a year-long partnership with National Geographic.

At the end of the summer institute, Shelley Rath and Amber Robbins returned home ready to use the Geo-Inquiry Process in Robbins’ own classrooms. Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, they and the other Geo-Inquiry Ambassadors will train additional teachers, involving more than 3,000 teachers and impacting 200,000 students across the United States and Canada. While using the Geo-Inquiry Process, Shelley Rath and Amber Robbins will help students to view the world through a geographic lens allowing them to see patterns and make connections as they look at the world differently in order to make informed predictions, well-reasoned decisions, and ultimately take action.


In 2018, National Geographic will sponsor institutes in each state, Canada, and D.C. to train hundreds more educators in how to implement the Geo-Inquiry Process in their classroom.  The goal is to have more than 1,000 community projects engaging over 50,000 students in 2018. To learn more about the Geo-Inquiry Process visit


About the National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. Through our grants and programs, we aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit