Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Turning the tables in chemistry

11.06.2007
Brandeis University revamping science education to attract more diverse students

What do glowing veggies have to do with a career in science" It just so happens that electrified pickles swimming in metal ions are one example of the type of undergraduate chemistry class demonstration that helps make a future in science a bright possibility, rather than a total turn-off, for many students.

In a commentary in this month’s Nature Chemical Biology, Brandeis University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor Irving Epstein outlines a gathering storm clouding the future of U.S. science and prescribes a series of strategies to help avert a looming national crisis. Epstein says the continued success of U.S. science is seriously threatened by the fact that increasing numbers of undergraduates, particularly the disadvantaged, are writing off a career in science.

Why? Many students find introductory science, and chemistry in particular, both difficult and dull the way it is conventionally taught at the college level, discouraging many potential scientists before they ever have the chance to get hooked on science.

... more about:
»Epstein »disadvantaged »undergraduate

“Anyone who teaches an introductory science course at one of this country’s elite universities is familiar with the sea of white faces he or she encounters, and the tendency of that ocean to whiten even more as the semester progresses and as one moves up the ladder of courses,” writes Epstein, who last year won $1 million from HHMI to revamp introductory chemistry at Brandeis with an eye to luring—and retaining—more students in science, particularly disadvantaged ones.

“We need to ask ourselves why science is unattractive to so many students, particularly (but by no means exclusively), to underrepresented minority students,” writes Epstein. He believes that conventional science teaching and passive learning are primary culprits, because they rely too heavily on lecturing as well as unrelated and unexciting laboratory experiments.

Epstein proposes a variety of strategies aimed at capturing the imaginations of potential scientists, all of which maximize interaction among undergraduates, teachers, material, yes, even dill pickles, and contemporary technology, such as video games. The overall goal, says Epstein, is to bring the thrill of discovery and learning back into the science classroom.

But beyond that, Epstein’s HHMI project involves recruiting and retaining disadvantaged students in collaboration with the Posse Foundation, an organization that selects and trains “posses” of inner-city students to succeed in college. The students are chosen for their academic and leadership abilities. Epstein’s plan is to create a “science posse” at Brandeis each year that will build on the existing Posse program’s strengths but add features tailored specifically to science, such as a two-week pre-Brandeis “boot camp,” paid lab jobs, and academic support.

“If we can succeed in making chemistry more appealing to students by reawakening their instinctive curiosity about the world, and attract and retain more disadvantaged students in chemistry, the impact will be felt well beyond a single discipline, a single university, and a single nation,” says Epstein.

Laura Gardner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brandeis.edu

Further reports about: Epstein disadvantaged undergraduate

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>