published December 5, 2012

Eight Leaders Elected to Fellows Program

The fall 2012 elections to the SENCER Leadership Fellows program honor members of our community who have taken great strides to improve education on their campuses and in their communities. The program, which now includes the recognition of 125 leaders from around the country, was initiated in 2008. The new Fellows have expertise working with both the formal and informal science education communities, represent several disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects, and provide models of applying the SENCER ideals on campus.

The leaders elected to the program by the National Fellowship Board are:
- Marguerite Forest and David Green, Florida Gulf Coast University
- Bárbara González and Melanie Pivarski, Roosevelt University
- Amy Kelley, Mercersburg Academy
- Joseph Koonce, Case Western Reserve University
- Flora Lichtman, Science Friday (pictured)
- Wyatt Oswald, Emerson College
Detailed information on the new Fellows' backgrounds and plans for their 18-month appointments are included below.

Marguerite Forest is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). She and another newly elected Leadership Fellow, David Green, lead the FGCU SENCER team, which focuses on informal science education (ISE) and environmental education. Marguerite hopes that her Leadership Fellowship will increase support for her SENCER work by FGCU, federal and state agencies, and private foundations, and allow her work to be publicly recognized within the Gulf Coast, Everglades and Florida Keys region. As a Leadership Fellow, Marguerite plans to encourage other faculty members in her department to design SENCER courses and to enhance her already extensive regional ISE involvement. Forest and her colleagues at FGCU are developing a southwest Florida counterpart to SENCER's GLISTEN regional initiative and a SENCERized course track based upon Kapi'olani Community College's model.

David Green is an Instructor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Supplementing his attendance and presentations at prior SENCER Summer Institutes, he currently leads the FGCU SENCER team with his colleague, Marguerite Forest. David recently published an article on the use of emerging technologies in science education in Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. As a Leadership Fellow, David plans to increase his involvement in the SENCER community, specifically within the South region; to enrich service-learning opportunities for FGCU students; and to mentor and develop relationships with new members of our community, including engineering faculty. Furthermore, he aspires to have one of his courses selected as a SENCER model, which others can use as a resource when designing their own courses.

Bárbara González is an Associate Professor in Roosevelt University's Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science. Bárbara and Melanie Pivarski, a Roosevelt colleague and another newly elected Leadership Fellow, used a post-Institute implementation sub-award from NCSCE to SENCERize several calculus and financial mathematics courses. As a member of the Roosevelt University SENCER team, Bárbara was a recipient of the 2012 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science. During her Fellowship, she will continue to work closely with her colleagues and students at Roosevelt to develop additional SENCER courses.

Melanie Pivarski is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Roosevelt University. Shortly after Melanie's arrival at Roosevelt, she and Bárbara González redesigned calculus II as a SENCER course. As a member of the Roosevelt University SENCER team, Melanie was a recipient of the 2012 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science. Melanie regularly presents her SENCER work at other academic conferences and is involved with national mathematics organizations, and through these interactions hopes to increase connections between the SENCER and mathematics communities. During her fellowship, Melanie plans to study how her student researchers and course assistants are affected by their own work on her SENCER courses.

Amy Kelley teaches mathematics at Mercersburg Academy. Her SENCER involvement began when she was a faculty member at Georgia College and State University (GCSU) where she developed a math course taught in conjunction with an introductory science course. Several years ago, she and a GCSU colleague received a Post-Institute Implementation sub-award from NCSCE to develop a series of workshops on SENCER course design, which grew into the Innovative Course-building Group that remains active at GCSU (please click here for a recently published update on the group). Presently, Amy is designing a course for Mercersburg students that will cover the art and mathematics concepts of 3D design and animation as well as the societal impacts of such hybrid creative-technical outlets for expression. As a Leadership Fellow, she will serve as an ambassador to bring more high school teachers, including her Mercersburg colleagues, into the SENCER community. To achieve this goal, she intends to plan a Summer Institute specifically for those teachers and to organize a regional or national SENCER leadership group for high school teachers.

Joseph Koonce is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University. After Case Western colleagues introduced Joseph to the SENCER approach, he incorporated civic engagement into his established inquiry-based courses. Under Joe's leadership, Case Western was part of the Cleveland-Akron cluster of NCSCE's GLISTEN initiative. Joe will serve as director of the new SENCER Center for Innovation for the Great Lakes region (SCI-Great Lakes), which will continue GLISTEN's work and encourage formal and informal education venues throughout the region to include civic engagement in K-16 course and project design. Joe's work as a Leadership Fellow will primarily focus on the launch of SCI-Great Lakes and his continued leadership at Case Western.

Flora Lichtman is a multimedia editor for National Public Radio's Science Friday. Through Science Friday, Flora educates listeners and online viewers by presenting scientific research in a way that is both entertaining and understandable for experts and non-experts alike. In addition to Flora's radio and video production work, she regularly speaks on science and science journalism before a variety of audiences, including providing engaging plenary and keynote addresses for the NCSCE community at the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Washington Symposia and Capitol Hill Poster Sessions. "Whale Fall," an animated short film developed by Flora and filmmaker Sharon Shattuck about whales falling to the bottom of the ocean, was honored with several awards and has had nearly one million views online (please click here to take a look). She hopes to produce another science-themed short film in 2013. As a Leadership Fellow, Flora will aim to forge a deeper connection between the SENCER, informal science education, and science journalism communities.

Wyatt Oswald is an Associate Professor in the Science Program of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College. Following Wyatt's attendance at the 2007 SENCER Summer Institute, he led an revision of Emerson's science curriculum. The curriculum now has two SENCERized clusters of courses: Human Health and Biology and Environmental Science. Wyatt and his students are developing three websites that could be of use to his SENCER colleagues: an online library of science mini-magazines; the Digital Arboretum of Boston Common, a collection of short films and podcasts about the vegetation of Boston's iconic public landscape that can be used to teach biology or ecology; and an online science radio program primarily written and recorded by Emerson students. As a Leadership Fellow, Wyatt hopes to offer advice to SENCER colleagues reforming their institutions' curricula. He also plans to write a comparative article about the updated Emerson curriculum and curricula at other arts and communications-focused institutions.