Evolution and Revolution in STEM Education

BioQUEST's 35th Anniversary

photo of Ethel Stanley, Margaret Waterman, Stacey Kiser, Kristin Jenkins

As of June 6, 2021, BioQUEST reached the ripe old age (for an organization!) of 35! 2021 was so busy - with a new director taking the reins and QUBES officially coming under our stewardship - that we didn't have a chance to celebrate. We are making up for it now!

While we have evolved over the years with the needs of our community, a few things have stayed the same: our commitment to giving all students and educators access to teaching materials that center the student in their own learning, and our open, inclusive community focused on facilitating connections among faculty and their innovation in the classroom. (pictured above, BioQUEST all-stars: Ethel Stanley, Margaret Waterman, Stacey Kiser, and Kristin Jenkins)

Stories from our members 

(hover over photos for an excerpt - see the full stories here!)

Nicole Chodkowski headshot

Nicole Chodkowski, former QUBES postdoc and BQ volunteer

"My favorite part about the BQ community is that I know I can call someone for resources, ideas, interview preps etc. and they will be there in a heartbeat to help. They are really dedicated to helping everyone succeed in whatever way they can."

Maura Flannery photo

Maura Flannery, former BioQUEST member

"I met amazing people who influenced my thinking not only about biological inquiry but about history, art, anthropology, and much more. For me, that was one of the wonders of BioQUEST, there were no limits to what could be explored or to how such explorations could inform biology teaching."

Carlos Goller profile photo

Carlos Goller, longtime member and current board member

"I wanted to become a better teacher, use case studies, and learn from others. I was looking for sources of inspiration for lessons, sound pedagogy... and mentorship. I was walking the hallway of this beautiful building after checking in. As I turned the corner, I crashed into Pat Marsteller! [...] By the end of that day, I was playing bumper cars on awesome green chairs in an amazing active learning room. Importantly, I was invited into this welcoming community. Years later, we reconnect and it always feels the same: like we have been away for just a couple of days."

Kristin Jenkins headshot

Kristin Jenkins, Executive Director of BioQUEST 2011-2021

"BioQUEST has never been afraid to change, to really serve the community in meaningful ways and in particular to explore what’s possible. I told people that BioQUEST was aptly named, as I envisioned us as exploring the possible pathways for science education reform, reporting back to the community about likely pathways, and building bridges to help anyone try new approaches [...] A BioQUEST summer workshop 'only' lasted 5-10 days, but the presentations, resources and philosophical discussions provided fodder for a year’s worth of rumination."

Vedham Karpakakunjaram headshot

Vedham Karpakakunjaram, BioQUEST partner

"Mid-way through the workshop, when we were all huddled inside a bathroom (yes, you read it right) taking shelter from a tornado “whizzing by,” and the project ideas were coming together in the working groups, I realized that I have found my professional tribe! I have grown to be a better educator because of my collaborations with many passionate colleagues that I met in the BioQUEST summer workshops since then!"

Stacey Kiser headshot

Stacey Kiser, Vice President and longtime member of BioQUEST

"BioQUEST helped me form my identity as a teacher in important ways. It took me a while to get my feet underneath me before I started going to BioQUEST workshops, before I was ready for them, because they challenge you in a lot of ways. Over the years, it’s been good to be challenged, and to feel I’m in a comfortable space and community to be challenged and make improvements and to offer some reflection, as well. People who come back year after year are capable of doing that."

Pat Marsteller headshot

Pat Marsteller, longtime member of BioQUEST and former board chair

"Every BioQUEST meeting, whether summer institute, workshops at all kinds of societies, or board meetings was a bit like a family reunion. You discover long lost cousins, new in-laws and lots of people from the past. Excitement bubbles as everyone finds new friends and hugs old ones. BioQUEST became my family for making change happen and for staring revolutions in biology education. Every year there were old friends and new people who really wanted to make a difference! NEW PROJECTS EMERGED FROM EVERY MEETING. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!"

Hayley Orndorff

Hayley Orndorf, former workshop coordinator, UDL consultant

"I owe my professional growth to the BioQUEST community. I have worn many hats as a staff member largely because BioQUEST encouraged me into new roles, to develop new skills, and then provided support while I learned."

Deb Rook

Deb Rook, Deputy Director of BioQUEST, former Professional Development Manager

"Once upon a time, a young(ish) PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison stumbled blindly from her Geoscience department ... She found the Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution, and not only that, but they had an Outreach and Education committee! Kristin Jenkins, head of that committee...asked for volunteers to assist with a 5-day K-12 teacher workshop. Deb raised her hand and the rest is history.."

Sheela Venmu

Sheela Vemu, longtime BioQUEST member

"Being part of the 35th anniversary BioQUEST Celebration yesterday brought back a lot of beautiful memories of BioQUEST. My first BioQUEST was in 2014 at the insistence of my colleague Dan Ward. I have attended many meetings since then - spanning North Carolina to Michigan to Pittsburgh.."