Scientist Spotlight Assignments

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Scientist Spotlight assignments feature the life and work of diverse scientists and can be used to integrate inclusion and diversity into your course, while also covering content and scientific process (see an example here).

In 2016, Schinske et al. found that Scientist Spotlight assignments can shift students’ perceptions of the types of people who do science and enhance student science identity. More recently, Yonas et al. (2020) showed that Scientist Spotlight assignments were well-received by students and that student relatability to the scientist spotlights varied by student self-identities (gender, sexual orientation, religiosity, ethnicity, personal experiences, interests, etc.), and Metzger et al. (2023) demonstrated that these assignments can have a disproportionately positive impact for first-generation college students and women, providing further reason to include them in biology courses. Additionally, Aranda et al. (2021) made the case for engaging students in the creation of Scientist Spotlights to leverage students’ authentic perspectives and unique cultural assets and increase the likelihood that the Scientist Spotlights produced will resonate with them and their peers.

Examples of how Scientist Spotlight assignments are being implemented in UBC BIOL courses:

  • Jaclyn Dee shares her experience with using a Scientist Spotlight activity in BIOL 112 here.
  • Jaclyn Dee and Blaire Steinwand share how they brought in a guest speaker as a Scientist Spotlight in BIOL 140 here.
  • Learn about how BIOL 336 students are getting to know diverse scientists here.

Interested in incorporating Scientist Spotlight assignments in your course?

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