Dr. Pugh is a learning scientist with a background in environmental education. She has directed, designed, and been a field instructor for environmental education and interdisciplinary learning programs in the Pacific Northwest for over a decade. Her career has focused primarily on designing equitable field-based learning environments for youth and intergenerational learners. Her roles as an educator and researcher have gone hand in hand, with a strong commitment to forging community partnerships in the pursuit of designing meaningful and impactful learning environments. Her program of research sits at the intersection of place, culture, and cognition, with a focus on how people learn science when they are outside. More specifically, she studies how youth, adults, and families understand and actively make sense of complex ecological phenomena, and the social and cultural influences on this sense making.
Dr. Pugh began her graduate career at IslandWood (class of 2011!). She then earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development from the University of Washington. She was a graduate researcher on a number of community-engaged research projects at the LIFE (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments) Center at UW. She then joined two National Science Foundation-funded projects as a postdoctoral researcher – one at the University of Alaska Fairbanks studying STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) in informal learning environments, and one at the University of Washington Bothell studying and designing field-based science learning in early elementary classrooms.
Priya credits the IslandWood graduate program for fostering a deep love of birding!