The article “A Culturally Responsive Curricular Revision to Improve Engagement and Learning in an Undergraduate Microbiology Lab Course,” by Guttman faculty Dr. Karla S. Fuller and Prof. Camila Rivera Torres, was published in Frontiers in Microbiology in January 2021. The article details the implementation of a “culturally responsive approach in an undergraduate microbiology lab [to] increase engagement and learning gains.” In a scaffolded assignment, “students interviewed family members to learn about ‘home remedies,’ and then devised experiments to test” the effects of those remedies on the “growth of bacteria commonly implicated in gastrointestinal distress or sore throat. As a final assessment, students generated project posters which they presented at a class symposium.” The work of Dr. Fuller and Prof. Torres exemplifies the commitment of Guttman faculty to culturally responsive pedagogy and experiential learning, aimed at “increased retention and degree attainment for students at our Hispanic-serving institution.” To further its impact on higher education, this open access publication is available to readers and educators around the world.
Dr. Fuller earned her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology in cancer genetics from Purdue University. After a post-doctoral appointment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Science Park Research Center, she shifted her focus to mentoring and teaching undergraduate students at the community college level. As Associate Professor of Biology at Guttman, Dr. Fuller teaches a variety of biology classes and serves as the Coordinator of the Liberal Arts and Sciences – Science and Math track. In addition, she mentors students in research projects ranging from antibiotic resistance to virtual reality for science education. Dr. Fuller’s research interests include best practices to increase learning and success for undergraduate science students, particularly from underserved populations. She received the awards of the National Association of Biology Teachers Two-Year College Teacher of the Year for 2016 and the Education Update 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year.