Driving Discovery & Student Success in STEM
The IINSPIRE Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation held its 2014-15 Annual Conference, Driving Discovery and Student Success in STEM on November 2-3, 2014 at the FFA Enrichment Center at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.
The IINSPIRE Annual Conference featured invited speakers and concurrent programs of interest to both students and professionals. Students, faculty and staff from alliance members and collaborators were encouraged to attend.
Keynote Address & Invited Speakers
The opening keynote, Mixing it Up: Science and Pop Culture, was given by Dr. Raychelle Burks. Dr. Burks is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Doane College and the Center for Nanohybrid Functional Materials at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). A UNL alumna, she received her Ph D. in chemistry in 2011. She also holds a Masters in Forensic Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa. A passionate STEM advocate, she also works as a science writer and for GeekGirlCon as the Manager of the
Do-It-Yourself Science Zone.
Dr. Ruth Jones from NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center delivered the main keynote address Discover Your Passion. Dr. Ruth Jones is a Mishap Investigation Specialist at the NASA Safety Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She performs extensive planning and preparatory work to ensure that mishap investigation teams are trained and available to support the rapid deployment of the Mishap Investigation Team and the effective and efficient conduct of Type A/High Visibility Mishap Investigations. Dr. Ruth Jones is the second African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Physics in the state of Alabama, and the first woman to receive a B.S. degree in Physics from the prestigious University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She obtained her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Physics/Materials Science from Alabama A&M University.
Dr. Dara Norman, Research Associate, from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory was invited to speak with students about her personal journey toward success. Dr. Norman’s research interests focus on the bright central regions of galaxies, known as Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) – how they are triggered and their influence on galactic evolution. She received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Washington and holds a B.S. in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science from the Massachusetts Institution of Technology.
Zombie Impact! Creating Media to Communicate Science
This session was held for students and addressed the scientific and technological ideas that have been introduced in popular culture. The students were then instructed to create a poster with their team that explained the science using a theme from their favorite story.
Exploring Career Pathways: AURA and NASA
During these sessions, students were introduced to learn more about certain individuals’ career paths and obstacles to become leaders in their field of work within AURA and NASA. Students were given the opportunity to interact and learn more about each path as well as discuss the opportunities and internships available within the programs.
Student Research Experiences Panel
Students who participated in an undergraduate research experience (REU) shared details about finding and applying for an REU, as well as the overall research experience. The audience had an opportunity to ask questions of the student panel.
Pedagogy Workshop on Inquiry-Based and Research-Like Experiences
This workshop explored new approaches and examples of course-based research experiences that actively engage students in discovery early in their curriculum to enhance learning and retention. The workshop featured a web-based tool to find and share resources. Attendees worked together in groups. They also heard from professionals in the field about their career paths and success, as well as from students about their IINSPIRE experiences. An interactive session facilitated discussion about strategies for discovering STEM talent through community based recruitment from a variety of institutional types. Attendees had various opportunities to network with others including students.
STEM Faculty Roundtable: Making it REAL
As a follow-up to the opening keynote, Mixing it Up: Science and Pop Culture, faculty discussed how to connect STEM content to contemporary culture and issues
Discovering STEM Talent World Café
Participants engaged in rich conversations around high impact STEM recruitment strategies. The session included time for discussion, sharing and providing insight around high impact STEM recruitment.
Students with the top three posters in two categories, Research and Experiential, were awarded cash prizes. The top prize in each category received $300.00, second place received $200.00, and third place $100.00. Faculty attending the event also voted for their favorite poster. The winner of the faculty favorite poster received a cash prize of $250.00.
Faculty, staff, and students also were recognized for their achievements in pursuit of achieving the IINSPIRE LSAMP mission and for their contributions to the program.
The Stokes Award of Outstanding Service is granted to individuals, team, or organizations associated with the IINSPIRE Alliance for service at an exemplary level, in pursuit of the LSAMP Alliance’s primary goal to increase the participation of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields.
The Excellence in Mentoring Award is presented to faculty, staff, and students who are actively involved with LSAMP students and assist students in setting and achieving their own academic, personal and professional goals.
Research/Internship Opportunities Fair
Organizations had the opportunity to share information with URM undergraduate STEM students from across the alliance at the research/internship opportunities fair and during other sessions. Click here for a complete list of exhibitors.
More information about the Annual Conference, including photos for the day’s event will be posted soon.
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