Growth of CHANCE program spurs new website and travel opportunity

In 2004, a partnership between Penn State and the Pennsylvania Department of Education began bringing real-world conservation and environmental sustainability research into the hands of K-12 teachers across the state with the CHANCE program (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences). Since then, CHANCE has grown exponentially in its mission and now includes opportunities for teachers outside the Commonwealth as well as Penn State undergraduates. To meet the expanded needs of the program, CHANCE recently launched a new website ( and added a new field experience opportunity for students to travel to China.

The goal of the new website, which was funded by one of the programs corporate partners, ATAS International, Inc., is to effectively showcase the CHANCE mission (engaging teachers and students in inquiry-based research opportunities and conservation efforts that allow them to better understand global environmental issues), and to provide up-to-date information to the community.

"We wanted to create a user-specific information structure for the three main populations we serve: K-6 pre-service and in-service teachers, 7-12 pre-service and in-service teachers, and Penn State University undergraduates," said Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley and director of CHANCE. "This new site allows the user to easily learn about the courses and resources that are most relevant to them."

To accomplish these goals, the new website features videos, a newswire, detailed course descriptions, professional resources and development opportunities, and outreach activities. Recently, CHANCE used the website to help promote and accept applications for a new field course for undergraduate students to study global environmental sustainability issues in China. The trip, which will take place from May 15-31, has been filled with fifteen students from across the University and from diverse academic majors.

"This is an exciting opportunity for our Penn State students to work side by side with Chinese students to gain an interdisciplinary and international understanding of the correlation between global economic growth and its impact on the environment," says McLaughlin.

The University has also recognized the value of this field experience by awarding McLaughlin and her collaborators a $10,000 grant from the Confucius Institute at Penn State. The program was established at Penn State in 2010 through a grant from the Office of Chinese Languages Council International to substantially broaden students' opportunities to learn about traditional and contemporary Chinese language, culture, history, and society.

For more information, contact University Relations at 610-285-5067 or e-mail

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Last Updated September 09, 2015