In Memoriam - Tom Meixner

published Oct 10, 2022 1:48pm

Project EDDIE and many other communities are deeply saddened to hear of the death of our colleague, Thomas Meixner, in a campus shooting at the University of Arizona. Tom was a joy to be around. He always treated everyone with kindness and had enthusiasm when talking about science and education. He actively worked to make both hydrologic science and education more inclusive for both students and colleagues. We remember his warm and frequent smile and his willingness to not only share his expertise, but to learn and try new things. We saw this especially through his leadership in Project EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration), and through his active and longtime participation in NAGT, including reviewing materials submitted to Teach the Earth, among many other roles. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to Dr. Meixner's family, friends, colleagues, and students.

Acting on his belief in making science accessible, Tom led education and public interest efforts that contributed to equitable and just outcomes for communities. This includes not only leading Project EDDIE, an educator community advancing the creation and use of open environmental data, but also co-authoring two EDDIE teaching modules on Stream Discharge and on Nutrient Loading. He also co-authored several papers in science education, including on using large datasets for open-ended inquiry in undergraduate classrooms, on how EDDIE modules are effective learning tools for developing quantitative literacy, and on students' understanding of randomness and variation.

Tom was a professor and department head for Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. He held a BS in History of Science and in Soil and Water Conservation from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a PhD in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona. He is described by those who knew him as a devoted professor, colleague, father, and husband. He had a passion for water conservation and for education, and was involved in several projects related to both.

We invite the anyone whose work or life has been touched by Tom to share their memories, thoughts, and condolences on the discussion thread below that will be visible to all.

In Memoriam - Tom Meixner -- Discussion  

I was fortunate to work with Tom through a series of Project EDDIE workshops this past January. I came in with a rather convoluted idea, but Tom's consistent encouragement helped shepherd me through the process of multiple revisions. In our one-on-one Zoom meetings and emails, I was struck by Tom's kindness and his genuine interest in my work beyond this project. I recall commiserating with him about our workload as department heads, and receiving several brief but unmistakably genuine congratulatory emails when my module cleared different stages of the review process. Through these brief but impactful interactions, Tom will remain a role model for me.
My thoughts are with Tom's family, friends, and colleagues during this time.


edittextuser=0 post_id=47535 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

Tom helped me publish my EDDIE Module, and I was so grateful for his gentle reminders and check-ins. I think the last time I was "live" with Tom was at a June zoom meeting for a now-submitted paper. I remember getting a glimpse of a screenshare of his calendar which was absolutely harrowing, but I think he had also recently been on a bike ride and to his son's cross country meet. Reading other stories about how he always wanted to help people paints that harrowing calendar in the best light - may we always have the enthusiasm to get busy helping.


edittextuser=0 post_id=47536 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

Tom was generous with his time in providing guidance to our project. His demeanor invited experimentation, reflection and engagement. When I picture how to provide an engaging inclusive training, EDDIE is the example, and Tom was a critical part of that.


edittextuser=0 post_id=47537 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

I got to know Tom working on the Eddie leadership team. He was both a great listener and a source of great ideas. I could count on him to speak his mind if he thought something was missing, overlooked or wrong. His viewpoint was thoughtful, broad and creative. Eddie would not be what it is today without his input, participation, and hard work. I will miss him.


edittextuser=3 post_id=47538 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

I got to know Tom through my involvement with three early EDDIE workshops. I always appreciated his wry sense of humor, quick wit, and ability to provide amazing and to the point feedback. I am impressed how Project EDDIE has continued and expanded in many directions and how Tom was such an integral part of that. We will all miss him and I am so sad for his family, colleagues in Arizona, and many of us across the world who are better scientists and educators because we ran across Tom's path.


edittextuser=0 post_id=47539 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

Tom taught me by example. At an AGU meeting here was this obviously talented scientist dedicated to being helpful doing whatever needed to be done. No pretense, just a smile and gentle action. It helped me shed a certain defensive shyness I had developed to cope as a woman in what was at that time the very male dominated world of science. Thank you Tom! I feel sure that you smile down on us all always.


edittextuser=0 post_id=47540 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

Tom always brought so much positive energy to our Project EDDIE work together! One of my favorite memories was planning how to connect EDDIE modules featuring inquiry and quantitative reasoning with arts approaches to build community connections. Tom knew some exciting examples of work done here and he was also excited to learn from arts panelists that were new to him. Tom was really invested in building the capacity we need in research & education for climate action. He collaborated with his whole heart. I will miss how innovative, fun, & caring he was.


edittextuser=0 post_id=47543 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=18858

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