Shirazi, Sabrina

I am starting my second year as a PhD. Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) working with Dr. Beth Shapiro. I use samples from museum and archaeological samples as a source of DNA that can inform efforts in conservation. After completing my graduate work at Santa Cruz, I am interested in continuing in conservation research, education and outreach. The issues that conservation are based on will not be solved within a single generation, and I am therefore very passionate about preparing future scientists with interests in conservation. PDP allowed me to gain skills in efficiently teaching course content and pairing it with necessary skills of a scientist.  Prior to PDP, my interests in teaching were hindered by my frustration with the education system as it stands. In particular, the focus on inquiry-based learning, and focuses on Equity & Inclusion that PDP enforces raised my excitement for education.



Teaching Activity Summary

Name of Teaching Activity: Energetic Transfers: Using knowledge of energy flow in an ecosystem to create models and then refine models with data to generate hypotheses

Teaching Venue & Date: Biology WEST, Sept 2017

Learners: 21 transfer students undergrads

Reflection on how learners engaged with a STEM practice during the inquiry:

Of the 21 learners in our activity, I personally observed meaningful engagement in the activity by approximately 15 of them. Our design of the activity had each facilitator concentrating on smaller groups of learners so I did not have ongoing engagement with all of them. One of the groups I facilitated really stood out in their focus on developing their practice of building models. When given data, this group took time to focus on each aspect of the data, building a model before moving on. As they advanced in focusing on different aspects of the data, they slowly developed their model with high level observations on how all of the data was connected. We expected each group to produce a single model that took all data into account— in addition to that model, this group made three additional models that were based around different aspects of the data. This group showed genuine interest in all aspects of the inquiry based lesson, taking their tome rather than rushing through lling out all of the ‘answers’, then looking back. Learners who struggled with the data were frustrated by a lack of data on day one. With a previous mindset of focusing on numerical values, this group struggled with a theoretical model. On day two, when learners obtained numerical data, this group acknowledged their weakness in thinking about things abstractly.

Link to Sabrina's Activity Summary