Biological Sciences: Integrative and Organismal Biological Sciences - PhD
Research Topic: Biology education , conservation biology
A view from history shows us that the definition of science literacy is ever growing in both meaning and application. Currently, scientific literacy defines what the public should know about science in order to live more effectively in respect to the natural world (DeBoer, 2000). Broadly, my research looks at science literacy within the non-STEM major student population and how we can increase their scientific literacy through authentic research experiences.
Socioscientific issues are controversial scientific issues containing multiple points of view from political, economic, sociocultural, and environmental stakeholders. Relevant examples of socioscientific issues are the vaccination controversy, climate change, stem cell research, and conservation issues. Through including socioscientific issues within undergraduate science curricula, students may learn how to critically assess the issue through evaluating multiple perspectives along with scientific content. Broadly, my research focusses on non-science major students and the mechanisms that they are using to make these socioscientific decisions. This research may provide insight into how to design science courses for non-major students so that they may be prepared to face these issues once outside of academia.