Emily Rynerson Cosci Benton County Professor for Environmental Education
The Emily Rynerson Cosci Benton County Professorship for Environmental Education honors the legacy of an Oregon State alumna who loved teaching and the natural world. A graduate of OSU's wildlife science ('96) and master's of science education ('03) programs, Emily Cosci was an adjunct faculty member for 10 years, holding several positions in natural resources education. She was program manager of the OSU College of Forestry's forest education programs for teachers, classroom volunteers, and youth; assistant program director of the Oregon Forestry Education Program's Project Learning Tree; logistics coordinator of the College of Forestry's Natural Resource Summer Program for Youth; watershed education coordinator for Marion-Polk County Extension; and also worked for Wolftree, a science educational organization based in Sisters and Portland.
The endowed faculty position was created in 2012 through a $1 million memorial gift from Cosci's mother, Mary Rynerson, who is the founder of Pacific Interpreters: a Portland-based company that specializes in translation services for the medical field. The endowment supports a 4-H staff position with Benton County 4-H who will lead environmental education activities and experiential learning programs that teach youth about the natural world and environmental stewardship. The fund was the first endowment dedicated to supporting a 4-H staff member in Oregon.
"Children need to have time to count the spots on a banana slug and hear the story of how a Doug fir cone's bracts look like the hind legs and tail of a tiny mouse trying to hide. It takes a special type of educator to do this for our youth. Emily was that kind of educator," said professor and state 4-H science specialist Virginia Bourdeau. "This special gift will assure that we will always be growing the next generation of environmental educators."