Who We Are

Maureen Munn

Maureen Munn (mmunn@uw.edu) is the Director of Genome Sciences Education Outreach (GSEO) at the University of Washington. For the past 22 years, she has worked with teachers, scientists, and other science educators to plan and develop grant-funded programs based on teaching and learning concepts in genetics and genomics, conducting authentic research, and exploring related ethical issues. In 2013, she and colleagues were awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction for the program, Exploring Databases, which enables students to conduct their own research on why people smoke by analyzing data from an epidemiological study of smoking behavior.

The current project, Genes, the Environment, and Me (GEM), is funded through a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health. Through GEM, we have developed instructional materials that guide students in learning how genes and the environment interact to determine traits in all living organisms, from the smallest soil nematode to humans. Working primarily with schools in the Washington's Yakima Valley, GEM has also collaborated in presenting three highly successful science and engineering festivals for students, teachers, and the community in that area.

Raised primarily in western Canada, Maureen completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Victoria, her PhD at the University of California San Francisco, and post-doctoral studies at Yale University. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, and making jewelry.

Joan Griswold

Joan Griswold (jcgriz@uw.edu) is currently the Education Outreach Specialist for Genome Sciences Education Outreach, where she helps to write, edit, disseminate and manage field-testing for the curriculum developed through the Genes, the Environment and Me program.

Joan has over a decade of teaching experience in both middle school and high school classrooms. She has been involved in curriculum design, implementation, and dissemination for nearly ten years, both at Genome Sciences Education Outreach and the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research. She served two terms as a community member of the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee (ESCRO) at the University of Washington, and is past-president of the Washington Biotechnology Foundation. Joan has participated in the Science Education Partnership through the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Integrated Science Partnership for middle school teachers through the University of Washington. She also has experience as a laboratory assistant and clinical coordinator at the Oregon Health Sciences University. In addition to travel, she enjoys time with her family, fiddling, beading, bicycling and skiing. Joan received her BS in Biology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and earned a Masters in Teaching from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.

GSEO: Founded in 1993, Genome Sciences Education Outreach was originally part of the UW Department of Molecular Biotechnology. In September 2001, we became a part of the Department of Genome Sciences, which was formed through a merger of the Departments of Molecular Biotechnology and Genetics. The outreach group develops innovative programs that bring leading-edge science to teachers and students in K-12 schools. These programs provide interdisciplinary, hands-on science curricula, teacher training, equipment, and support to promote excellence in K-12 science education. GSEO Director Maureen Munn works closely with Genome Sciences faculty, students, and staff, as well as other UW collaborators, teachers, and science educators from throughout Washington State, to support science education.

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GSEO Highlights

Recent Publication: The paper How Do You Like Your Science, Wet or Dry? reports on impacts of the Exploring Databases project.

Carolina Kit to Support Worm Curriculum: GSEO is partnering with Carolina Biological Supply to support teachers with the What can we learn from worms? curriculum. Kits are now available here.


Exploring Databases awarded the July 2013 Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction. Click Read More for link to Science article.


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University of Washington Department of Genome Sciences
Education Outreach, Box 355065 ~ Foege Building, Room S-334 ~ Seattle, WA 98195
phone: (206) 616-4538 fax: (206) 685-7301