UW’s Crayton and Wood share Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award


Jane Crayton and Mary Louise Wood have a unique relationship with their collaborative work on programming for Albany County 4-H students. That partnership gives them a share of the University of Wyoming’s Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award.

Crayton is the UW Coe Library makerspace coordinator and works to provide diverse learning experiences through the makerspace. Her focus is on the world of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) and draws on topics in these fields to build a program at Coe Library’s makerspace.

Wood is UW Extension’s 4-H/youth development coordinator. Through her work with Albany County 4-H, she has reached a diverse community of adults and youth through a wide variety of programs.

The Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award recognizes UW staff members who both support learning and development through community engagement and build strong, reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community.

Together, Crayton and Wood formed the 4-H Makerspace Club. The club is open to the public and serves youths 16-18-years old. The club allows kids to explore their creative side while focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, using 3D, robotics and e-textiles.

The club works to inspire the next generation of students in STEM using project-based art and design. Many of the projects help develop social, creative and critical thinking skills. Through the new concentrated effort in the makerspace, Albany County 4-H is seeing an increase in youth membership.

“Jane engages students with STEAM to develop critical thinking and creative skills,” Wood said. “These skills will help the students to become future innovators.”

Both Crayton and Wood are working on additional outreach and engagement projects in their own fields. Wood has assisted in developing numerous projects and is participating in the UW Extension Impact Collaborative Experience, a professional development program to provide new opportunities for educators to bring innovation and capacity to their respective Extension programs.

Crayton has engaged students through programs such as Pokebots and MakeHer Space, and has started the Design and Climb Program, a project focused on engaging students in designing interactive climbing holds for the Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center’s climbing wall.

Crayton and Wood are an “energetic team” that is committed to engaging the local community and providing students with the opportunity to gain hands-on learning in STEM fields. They also are creating a collaborative and welcoming environment, said Jean Garrison, director of UW’s Office of Engagement and Outreach, which presents the Millgate Awards.

“The recognition of Jane and Mary Louise for the Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award acknowledges their innovative program that has quickly built strong, reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community in a model that can be emulated in other parts of the state,” Garrison said.

Other Millgate Engagement Award recipients are Morgan Longstreth, a UW psychology doctoral candidate and founder of the Caring Companions program, who received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Student Award; Associate Professor Ana Houseal was awarded the Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award; and Healthy Kids Rx, a collaborative program between Laramie’s CrossFit 7220 and UW, received the Marvin Millgate Excellence in Community Partnership Award.