The UT STEM Center has been hosting two scholar speaker series for the spring semester, the Brown Bag Colloquium and the STEM Ed Scholars of Color Colloquium. Both series offer UT students and faculty opportunities to hear and discuss the latest research in STEM education in informal lunch sessions. STEM Center Director Eric Knuth created these lunch talks as an opportunity to promote scholarship and community within the academic environment.
"Academia can sometimes be isolating. It's extremely important for researchers to be aware of the work being done by their peers but it's equally important for all of us to create personal connections to support each other. We discover new opportunities and partners for research through talks like this," said Knuth.
The Brown Bag Colloquium focuses on UT faculty from the College of Education. Katie Muenks and Flávio Azevedo have both already spoken this semester with Veronica Yan and Chris Doabler coming up on March 25th and April 29th, respectively. Muenks, Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology, spoke about "Motivation in School: The Role of Students', Parents', and Teachers' Beliefs about Academic Ability" while Azevedo, Assistant Professor in STEM Education, spoke about "The Mathematics in the Social Studies Textbook: A Critical Content Analysis and Implications for Students’ Reasoning". Yan, Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology, will speak on the topic of "Sequencing Learning for Long-term Retention" next Monday.
The STEM Ed Scholars of Color Colloquium's first talk brought ReAnna Roby, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Teacher Education from Michigan State University, to UT to speak on the topic "Afterlife of Black Girls and Women in STEM: Narrative Reimaginings of STEM and Making". Roby's talk was recorded and her presentation slides are available upon request. The second event of the series will be Monday, April 15th with the STEM Center welcoming Maria Olivares, TERC Research Scientist, and her topic "Remaking STEM: Disrupting Structures of Authority in STEM".
"I've been very pleased with the response to both series and I'm looking forward to the speakers for March and April. We've had excellent discussions and I think there is significant value in creating opportunities to exchange research in relaxed lunch talks like this," said Knuth.