Dave Oberbillig

Department of Energy
Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists

Montana – Grades 9-12, Biological Sciences

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2010-11 Poster   2011-12 Poster


A week spent in the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, Washington during high school, exploring the subtleties of the landscape and observing bird behavior in the wild, inspired Dave to admire and become curious about the natural world. Dave shares his inspiration with the next generation of scientists and naturalists by providing his current high school students with firsthand experiences outdoors. Dave’s primary educational interest is connecting students with nature through outdoor ecological inquiry.

Just out of high school, Dave took a detour from formal education for a short stint in the world of professional soccer with the Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League. This experience served as a springboard to a lifetime of community soccer involvement as both a player and coach. Dave’s coaching experiences, from youth level to NCAA division I college, provided a foundation for motivating and guiding students in the classroom. He continues to coach at the high school level.

Dave earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colorado. It was here that Dave first experienced science research, earning a first place research award in the American Chemical Society Colorado undergraduate research competition for work on enzyme kinetics. After graduate studies at Oregon State University, Dave earned a Masters degree in secondary education at the University of Montana. As a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation GK-12 grant with professors Carol Brewer and Paul Alaback at the University of Montana, Dave mentored graduate students and educators about outdoor ecological inquiry. He also served as a panelist and presenter at the NSF, GK-12 annual meeting and worked on the national planning team for that event.

As the first high school educator to serve on the Ecological Society of America education committee, Dave helped develop strategies to recruit the next generation of ecologists. He also delivered a seminar presentation at the annual meeting focused on promoting outdoor ecological inquiry.

Dave teaches biology at Hellgate High School in Missoula, Montana, where he lives with his wife Deborah, and son Ian. He started his science teaching career here 14 years ago. When not at school, Dave can be found on a local soccer field or in the wild landscapes of Montana and the West.

Dave is serving his second fellowship year at the Department of Energy, Office of Science, Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists.