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  • Organization
    Emory University

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  • Biography

    Pat Marsteller directs the Emory College Center for Science Education ( and is a faculty member in the department of Biology at Emory. She studied evolution of animal behavior for her MS degree at University of South Carolina and evolution and quantitative genetics for her PhD at the University of Florida.  She worked with alligators for her MS thesis, investigating whether they could use the sun, the moon and the stars to navigate. Her dissertation research focused on a quantitative genetic analysis, using with fruit flies as a model system, to investigate genetic and environmental influence on life history patterns and traits such as longevity and quantity and timing of reproduction. She has taught courses evolution, Darwin and the idea of evolution and many other courses over her 30 years of college teaching.  She also works with college and pre-college faculty on developing curriculum materials and on using active learning strategies in the teaching of science and mathematics. She is the PI of the ScienceCasenetwork.


     Pat’s grand project is to prepare Faculty of the Future to teach well, to be creative, to be excellent mentors. She believes that we all have a responsibility to educate the public about science. Her other grand project relates to increasing diversity in science...She is in charge of special programs to increase success for underrepresented groups, women and first genration students at undergraduate, graduate, postdoc and faculty levels. support for these initiatives comes from NSF, HHMI, and NIH.  She is co-PI of the Emory Initiative for Maximizing Student Development project, among many projects that support student research.


    Prior to arriving at Emory in 1990, Pat taught at large state universities and tiny liberal arts colleges.  This experience gave her the opportunity to teach nearly every course in Biology.  She loves teaching because transmitting the joys (and trials) of the process of science to students gives them the tools for lifelong learning and discovery.  Science is not merely a body of accumulated facts and theories, but an exhilarating process of discovery.  Good teachers are constant learners, inventing, creating and discovering new ways to facilitate learning.  As her friend John Jungck says, “teachers must move from the position of sage on the stage to guide on the side.”  Learning is an active process- students are not vessels into which we pour our accumulated wisdom; they are participants is generating, constructing and linking knowledge by placing new content in the context of what they know and by developing critical analysis skills so that they can generate reasonable hypotheses, test them, analyze carefully and draw reasonable conclusions.  Good teachers and good students should “Question Authority” as the bumper sticker on her door suggests.  Don’t just believe!  Delve into it, connect, apply, and make it your own!


    Pat is a member of the Biology faculty and the NBB faculty and directs the Hughes Undergraduate Science Initiative and our Emory College Center for Science Education. She is  the oldest of 11 kids.  She is married to Fred Marsteller, who is a consultant in Biostatistics and Research Design.  Her son Sean was the founding Director of LearnLink.  He and his wife now live in Canada. She has a really cute dog, named dino.

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