Education

Abstract

CS-2-2 - Writing Scientist Biographies Increases Student’s Awareness of Diversity in Genetics

Sunday, July 15
1:23 PM - 1:43 PM

Inclusive pedagogy incorporates dynamic practices, integration of multicultural content, and varied assessment to promote student success. The aim of this intervention was to introduce multicultural content to a 300-level genetics laboratory course. The educational intervention applied here would be simple to adapt to any curricula and any discipline. In this assignment, students created a mock magazine featuring a set of expert geneticists. Students were randomly assigned a geneticist from a pool spanning a wide range of cultural backgrounds and identities. Then they wrote a 500 word biography, read their peer’s biographies, and, in groups, categorized these geneticists into a Table of Contents. Additionally, a pre-test was administered on the first day of class where students reported the names of all the geneticists and their contribution of the field to the best of their knowledge and repeated as a post-test on the final exam. Preliminary data from one section (7 male/13 female, 5 under-represented minorities) suggests this intervention was successful. Out of five groups, two focused only on scientific discoveries and three categorized based on both scientific research and multicultural content (i.e. advocacy, geography, sex, etc.). A comparison of the pre- and post-tests showed reported scientists demographics shifted from 92% male, 8% female on the pre-test to 76% male, 24% female on the post-test. A shift was also noted for reported under-represented minorities which on the pre-test were not present (100% non-minorities) yet on the post-test 76% non-minorities, 24% minorities were reported. These data suggest this assignment increases student’s awareness of the diverse and multicultural nature of the scientist population. An additional benefit is it provides role-models for under-represented groups within their field which has been suggested to improve student retention in STEM; however, longer term studies would be required to reliably measure its impact on student learning and retention.


 


 


 

Co-Authors

Patrick Gentry – Indiana University Purdue University Indianpolis; Nicolas Berbari – Indiana University Purdue University Indianpolis; Anusha Rao – Indiana University Purdue University Indianpolis

Jennifer Robison, MS

PhD Candidate
Indiana University Purdue University Indianpolis

Jennifer Robison is a PhD Candidate at IUPUI in the Department of Biology. She has a masters degree in marine biology and biochemistry from the University of Delaware. Her interests lie in how plants adapt to abiotic stresses, science communication, and undergraduate education.

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CS-2-2 - Writing Scientist Biographies Increases Student’s Awareness of Diversity in Genetics



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