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  • Created 03 Sep 2019

Fall Speakers

Tuesday, September 15

12 pm ET / 9:00 am PT

Davida Smyth

Davida Smyth

The New School

Very Irish, Microbe lover, Researcher, Educator

More about me:

Davida S. Smyth, holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland and completed her postdoctoral training at New York Medical College, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and New York University. She currently serves as Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences in Mercy College’s School of Health and Natural Sciences, where she teaches environmental science, introductory biology, microbiology, environmental science and genetics. She holds Assistant Research Scientist status in the lab of Professor Richard Novick at NYU Langone Medical Center and is an Adjunct Lecturer for the online Masters in Bioinformatics program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Prior to joining Mercy, Dr. Smyth was an adjunct instructor at Stern College of Yeshiva University and Assistant Professor of Biology at New York City College of Technology (NYCCT). At NYCCT, she coordinated the microbiology course, established and ran the internship course for biomedical informatics, and acted as program coordinator for biomedical informatics (in 2015). Dr. Smyth has published extensively in the field of microbial epidemiology and has more than 20 original articles in peer-reviewed journals, and a book chapter. She is a member of the editorial board of BMC Infectious Diseases journal. She was also the co-coordinator of READ—an initiative aimed at improving biology students’ reading skills through instruction in reading, faculty development, and peer led team learning developed at New York City College of Technology by Project Director, Prof Juanita But. As part of the NYCCT team, READ has been the recipient of two SENCER Summer Institute post implementation awards and was part of CUNY Service Corps as a faculty-led project by Dr Smyth. She is devoted to undergraduate research. Since 2012, she has established new research projects in microbial ecology with her undergraduate student researchers. She studies the microbiome of the college campus and organism diversity of water sites in Brooklyn. Her students have presented their work at Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) annual conference. She has served as a judge for ABRCMS and reviewed student proposals for SACNAS. Committed to integrating research and teaching, at Mercy, she has developed a classroom undergraduate research experience called "The Microbiology of Urban Spaces". Most recently, she was awarded a grant from the Department of Defence to establish the Initiative for Undergraduate Research and Education in Genomics and to purchase an Ion S5 DNA sequencer.

Transforming your CUREs with SENCER

SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) is the signature initiative of the National Center for Science & Civic Engagement, the project is focused on empowering faculty and improving STEM teaching and learning by making connections to civic issues. The international SENCER community is composed of professionals, informal and formal educators, and administrators in K-12 and higher education institutions. Notably, SENCER has been recognized as a community of transformation.

My presentation will describe examples of ongoing actions that have been catalyzed by SENCER, helping individuals, populations, and communities to improve the educational outcomes for students, professional development for faculty, and support for administrative initiatives particularly in the areas of civic and scientific literacy. SENCER has been leveraged to transform the curriculum, bridging the divide between the disciplines in a variety of institutional contexts. Most notably SENCER has been integrated into CURE courses, helping students tackle issues of civic import to them and their communities, while demonstrating the power and limitations of science. 


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Tuesday, September 29

1 pm ET / 10:00 am PT

J. Phil Gibson

J. Phil Gibson

University of Oklahoma

I am a  Professor in the Department of Biology, and the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology.  I am also Associate Director for Education at the Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station.  I have taught intro biology more times than I can remember (I think I am at 70+ times), but I still love it.  Although there will be challenges, I am looking forward to teaching an online lecture to a very large class this fall.

What Joey Ramone Taught Me About Pivoting to Online Teaching

In March 2020, many of us experienced an unprecedented pivot to online teaching that upended many established lesson plans and classes and left us wondering how we would transition to an online classroom where those activities and assessments just wouldn't work. When I wasn't pondering that challenging topic, I indulged in exploring the history of 1970's music during my free time. Somewhere between the Ramones and the history of CBGB's. I found some ideas for how I need to think about my classes now and how I can assess my students effectively. Keep it simple, keep it focused, and keep it full of passion."

Zoom Information


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Friday, October 16

1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Gita Bangera

Gita Bangera

Bellevue College

Dr. Bangera is the founding Dean of the RISE Learning Institute, developing it from concept to successful implementation to bring high impact practices such as Research, Project, and Service based learning to students across all disciplines at Bellevue College. She has also served as the Interim Vice President of Instruction and Acting Co-President of Bellevue College. She leads a team of faculty and staff in designing and constructing a state-of-the-art makerspace and the predesign of the Transdisciplinary Innovations Center.

Obtaining more than $1M in grant funding from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Bangera was also helped obtain state funding for almost $1M in state-of-the-art lab equipment. She is one of 39 PULSE leadership fellows impacting science education at the national level. She is the director of the ComGen project that has created a community of practice for Classroom based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) with faculty from 27 higher education institutions in Washington. She is currently working with other leaders in the state to develop a statewide undergraduate research consortium.

Dr. Bangera is also an inventor and technical consultant 46 issued patents and over 110 patent applications and a small business owner.

Previously Dr. Bangera was a Senior Scientist at Combimatrix Corporation and conducted Post-doctoral Research at Harvard Medical School, University of Washington Medical School, and University of Copenhagen. She received her doctorate in Microbiology at Washington State University, Master’s in Biology from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s in Microbiology from University of Mumbai. 

Taking Undergraduate research to scale across the campus and across the state

Undergraduate Research is an essential tool in the engagement, retention and success of students in the 21st century. Bringing these experiences into the classroom is key to democratizing research and in creating an inclusive environment in STEM for students from minoritized populations. In this presentation, Dr. Gita Bangera Dean of the RISE Learning Institute (for Research Innovation Service and Experiential Learning) and the Principal Investigator of ComGen (NSF-funded) will share the journey of creating a campus culture of incorporating research into the curriculum and of building a faculty community of practice and the current attempts to create a state wide undergraduate research consortium.

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Launch Speakers

Lisa Corwin

lisa corwin

Tuesday, July 28th

12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

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Presentation Materials

Failing (in order) to succeed: Exploring how students cope with science failures in research-based courses

Dr. Lisa Corwin is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is lead PI of the Research in Ecology and Evolution Education for Action and Change (RE3ACH) Lab. Her research interests include investigations of how research-based laboratory learning increases students ability to cope with scientific challenge and failure, tolerance of ambiguity, and scientific civic engagement. She is also keenly interested in supporting community college faculty in their own biology education research endeavors.  Prior to coming to CU Boulder, Dr. Corwin received a PhD in Plant Biology from the University of California, Davis where she studied cottonwood ecophysiology in connection with maintaining riparian buffer zones around critical agricultural waterways. She then worked with Erin Dolan's group at the University of Georgia, Athens and the University of Texas at Austin to characterize and study the effects of course-based undergraduate research experiences. Dr. Corwin is passionate about inclusion and equity and hopes to contribute to a resilient, diverse, and persistent scientific workforce through her work in biology education. 

Please read, "FAIL Is Not a Four-Letter Word" before attending the presentation. 

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Derek Braun

derek braun

Tuesday, August 4th

12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET

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Presentation Materials

Mentoring of Deaf Students In Undergraduate Research Experiences: Research and Recommendations

Derek C. Braun, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Mathematics at Gallaudet University.

As a graduate student, Dr. Braun was a NIH National Service Research Award (NRSA) fellow. His graduate research at the University of Maryland was on the genetics of lipooligosaccharide antigenic variation in the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. After graduation from the University of Maryland, Dr. Braun worked at the National Cancer Institute, NIH, from 2002 through 2006, where he studied signal transduction pathways important in cancer and pain. Dr. Braun was awarded a provisional patent for developing a fluorescent recombinant biotechnology tool for high-throughput screening of potential anticancer drugs.

In 2006, Dr. Braun designed and began directing the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Gallaudet's first biological research laboratory. Undergraduate students and summer interns perform research in the laboratory alongside deaf faculty.

As a result of working with students in his lab, Dr. Braun, along with Cara Gormally and M. Diane Clark began a fruitful collaboration identifying the variables important for effective mentoring of deaf students in undergraduate research experiences.

As one of the very few Deaf geneticists in the world, Dr. Braun was interviewed and featured in "Scientists with disabilities: Access in all areas" in Nature, "Science in Sign Language" in ASBMB Today, and in All in the Mind, a radio show by Australian Broadcasting Corp. He also presented at TEDxMidAtlantic 2013.

Please read "The Deaf Mentoring Survey: A Community Cultural Wealth Framework for Measuring Mentoring Effectiveness with Underrepresented Students" before attending the presentation.

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