6th February 2017 – Amanda Glaze, Georgia Southern University

amanda-glazeHello BioTweeps! My name is Amanda Glaze and I am an Assistant Professor of Middle Grades and Secondary Science Education at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. I am taking over BioTweeps for Darwin Week 2017, one of my favorite weeks of the year and a topic that is on the top of my favorites to research and share.

I study the intersections of science and society, specifically public controversy surrounding topics such as evolution that are seen as “controversial” by the public. I also research and design programs to help other scientists and teachers improve public perceptions of evolution, and science in general, through formal and informal interactions. I have the benefit of walking in two worlds, as both a bench-trained biologist and a science teacher educator and have done research in both fields prior to the blending in which I presently engage. In addition to my present exploration of science, beliefs, and controversy, I have worked on a number of projects across related fields (B. thurengiensis protein, in situ callose biosynthesis in A. thaliana, β-Glucosidase and insulin potentiating factor IPF in Bitter Gourd, M. charantia, proteins) and am working in evolutionary ichthyology over the next year with my colleague Emily Kane as we use Guppy Kits to help students visualize evolutionary change!

If I could have a slogan for what I do it would be #ScienceForAll because, to me, being scientifically literate is one of the most empowering and important tool sets we can foster in the next generation and in others who are not so scientifically minded. We have all had conversations with people who don’t trust scientists or who have misconceptions about what it is that science does and how it gets done. Similarly, many of us are familiar with misinformation that is devastating to the social fabric, things like rejection of climate change, horror at the use of stem cells, and vitriol at the very mention of evolution. While these may not all seem equally meaningful, the key to understanding why the public rejects and, in some cases, fears science and scientists and taking steps to positively impact the communication and connections between the scientific community and the public transcends these topics in many ways.

A large part of what I do involves spending time talking to people about their experiences with science, whether in or out of school as well as their beliefs and how they intersect, diverge, and sometime conflict with scientific ways of knowing and explaining the world. In many ways I am a historian of the publics’ scientific stories. I am also actively engaged in quantitative research and frequently connect back with my roots in collaborations with fellow biologists whose own evolution research leads them to venture into the public and education arenas. My goal is to build relationships that foster understanding of the areas where science and beliefs diverge and develop means to bridge those gaps in ways that are true to science. What I am doing—seeking to meaningfully counter anti-science and anti-evolution mindsets, working with teachers in the United States (and heavily in the South) to more accurately and consistently teach evolution, and supporting outreach and communication with the public—is my personal effort to impact the future of science understanding, trust, funding, and support in the future for all of us!

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8th August 2016 – Hernani Oliveira, Queen Mary University of London

Hernani Oliveira.jpgI’m a scientist and conservation biologist. I’ve been working with bats for the last ten years. Apart from my love for them, they’ve been my way to understand and discover how nature works. It’s been a long journey during which I’ve traveled and worked in the Brazilian biomes of the Amazon forest, Atlantic rainforest and Cerrado (Brazilian savannah). I’ve also started working in Costa Rica mainly in the dry forest and rainforest during my PhD.

In my experience with education, I’ve worked teaching students from the primary school until the university level. I’ve been a teacher/professor for 7 years. I’ve also taught field courses about bat ecology and the ecology of Cerrado (Brazilian savannah).

I’m also passionated about photography and I use my trips in nature to make my shots and videos to help inform and educate people around the world about the importance of conservation and science.

4th July 2016 – Alyson Gamble, New College of Florida & USF-SM

Alyson Gamble
Typically found exploring underwater environments or hiking the backcountry, Alyson Gamble, a science librarian currently working at the Jane Bancroft Cook Library of New College of Florida (NCF) and the University of South Florida Sarasota­Manatee (USFSM), is passionate about teaching metaliteracy and expanding scholarly communications while deconstructing librarian stereotypes.  Currently working on a graduate certificate in Applied Biostatistics at the University of South Florida and a Council of Science Editors Publication Certificate, she holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University, a Master of Liberal Arts from Tulane University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Spring Hill College.  Prior to joining the faculty of NCF, Alyson worked as the librarian at Mote Marine Laboratory and as a library paraprofessional at Tulane University and Spring Hill College. She is active in global information science initiatives and enjoys interdisciplinary research.

You can learn more about me at my website, https://librarygamble.wordpress.com/, or via Twitter, @alybrarian.

October 19th 2014 – Lali DeRosier; CurlyHairMafia.com, ConvergentEd.com

Lali_DeRosierLali has been a teacher and scientist all her life. Her first experiments were meticulously labeled materials tests on the snow-encrusted window ledge of her bedroom. School friends have jokingly referred to her Bus Ride Lecture Series, where she would expound on everything from germ theory to adaptive social behavior. Raised by science-minded parents, Lali was encouraged to read, investigate, and question everything. Childhood trips to aquariums and museums went hand-in-hand with poring over grisly pictures in medical texts on lazy afternoons and marathons of Cousteau documentaries.

Lali studied Oceanic and Atmospheric Science at a science magnet school in the southeast where phenomenal high school teachers cultivated her love of school and learning. She was afforded an opportunity to work in a planktonology lab as part of a work-study program, and was immersed in marine science and culture as part of the daily curriculum. Drawn always to science, Lali realized that her place was not in a research lab, but rather in the classroom, where she could cultivate a love of science in the next generation of learners.

Lali went on to earn degrees in Biological Sciences at a New England liberal arts school, and Science Education at a Florida university. Currently at an independent school in Florida, she is teaches biological sciences and is developing a science writing curriculum for middle and high school. Believing that science communication is the key to improving science literacy among both students and the general public, Lali is eager to explore how online communication can enhance science education. You can find her other writing at Life in the Nerdlet Estuary.