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USM Center for Science and Mathematics Education to Present STEM Experts for Speaker Series

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 15:15pm | By: Van Arnold

The Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is welcoming a renowned list of guest lecturers as part of its annual STEMed Speaker Series that begins later this month. All of the presentations will be held in a virtual format.

CSME Assistant Professor Dr. Maria Wallace points out that the Center serves as an innovative hub for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and STEM education-oriented faculty, students and community partners to collaborate.

“Not only does the Center offer a pivot point for collaboration across a wide variety of academic programs at USM, it also serves as an incubation site for generating and implementing transformative STEM education and outreach initiatives around the region,” said Wallace. “The STEMed speaker series is just one, among many, examples of the rich, transdisciplinary conversations CSME faculty and students live out every day.”

The STEMed Speaker Series was introduced in fall 2019. Prior to each semester the CSME faculty review potential speakers and the related expertise they can share with the USM community. As Wallace notes, lineup considerations include:

  • Who does cutting-edge research with K-12 schools and teachers?
  • Who does cutting-edge research with informal education programs?
  • Who can offer a powerful example of debunking the research/practice binary?
  • Who does cutting-edge research about higher education?
  • What geographic areas do these speakers serve and/or regional perspectives do they work from?

“Thus, we really strive to have a balanced speaker series to address as many of the multiple issues/facets confronting STEM education as possible,” said Wallace.

The scheduled speakers include:

Dr. Sara Johnson, Sept. 30, Noon to 1 p.m.
Johnson, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of North Alabama, will discuss her work related to undergraduate STEM research experiences. Her two primary research areas are scientific discourse and biochemistry representation. She currently collaborates on research projects investigating traditional and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), representational competence, argumentation as a scientific practice, recruitment and retention, and diversity and inclusion in chemistry.

Melissa Higgins, Oct. 21, Noon to 1 p.m.
Higgins, vice president, programs and exhibits, at Boston Children’s Museum, will discuss her work related to STEM education at the Museum. In her current role, Higgins is responsible for developing a vision, strategy, and organization for this core function of the Museum. She leads public programming and exhibit development both inside the Museum and beyond its walls, building on the Museum’s deep experience in experiential learning and active play.

Dr. David Uttal, Nov. 11, Noon to 1 p.m.
Uttal, professor of psychology and education at Northwestern University, will discuss his work related to Spatial Thinking and Cognition. Uttal conducts research in a variety of other areas, including STEM learning, informal learning and symbolic representation.

Tatiane Russo-Tait, Dec. 2, Noon to 1 p.m.
Russo-Tait, Ph.D. candidate in STEM Education at the University of Texas - Austin, with a background in cell and molecular biology, will discuss her work related to STEM faculty conceptions of equity and implications for practice. Russo-Tait’s research explores experiences of minority students in STEM learning environments and the roles of educators' beliefs and practices in promoting racial and gender equity.

For more information, or to register for the speaker series, contact Chrissy.HudsonFREEMississippi.