Kathryn Venzor has joined the Colorado State University Spur team as the Director of Education, bringing more than 17 years of experience in curriculum and program development, environmental conservation, and community engagement.
“I couldn’t ask for a better setting to bring learning to life than the new CSU Spur campus,” said Venzor, who has built a career engaging K-12 audiences and local and statewide communities in conservation science, most recently at the Denver Zoo and the Butterfly Pavilion.
CSU Spur, an open-to-the-public campus focused on experiential learning, is “museum meets science lab” – a year-round opportunity for learners of all ages to engage with the intersectionality of water, food and health, and see science in action.
Christie Vilsack has served as a special advisor on education for the CSU Spur project since 2017, and traveled Colorado visiting with formal and informal educators, seeking input on what the future CSU Spur could do to serve educational needs in urban and rural communities across the state.
“Now we’re ready for our first education director, Kathryn Venzor, to turn that visioning process into an opening day a year from now that welcomes all Colorado students, their teachers, and families to learn about food, water, and health through experiences that connect them directly to people working on the cutting edge of these fields and virtually to other students and professionals engaged with water, animals and food science to create a better, safer future,” Vilsack said.
Inspiring the next generation
CSU Spur will be a channel to inspire the next generation, which is why the education director is such a critical role, said Jocelyn Hittle, assistant vice chancellor of CSU Spur and Special Projects at the CSU System.
“Kathryn brings a wealth of expertise in educational programming at cultural institutions,” Hittle said. “We are excited to have her working with partners, teachers, schools and educators to launch our K-12 educational programs at Spur.”
In past roles, Venzor has raised awareness for the importance of biodiversity, promoted action toward protecting lands and habitats, worked with community partners in the STEM fields, and engaged students from all backgrounds in the sciences and art. Now, she’ll build a team to bring the CSU Spur campus to life.
CSU Spur is the educational anchor for the future National Western Center campus in Denver. The campus offers a rare opportunity to bring the offerings of the CSU System’s three higher education institutions – CSU, CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global – to the public through K-12 field trips, visits by families, tourists and community members for formal and informal educational offerings. Spur will open two of its three buildings in January 2022.
“I am so excited to join this team and begin building programs that not only spark ideas and action, but that also bridge our youth and communities throughout Colorado together,” Venzor said. “There will be opportunities for engagement for learners of all ages and from all backgrounds at Spur. And, together, we’ll work toward a better tomorrow.”