Dr. Kim’s Students and Research Mentees Present at 68th Annual NY American Chemical Society Undergraduate Research Symposium
Guttman Statistics Faculty and Students Present Paper at National Numeracy Network 2020-2021 Annual Meeting
Guttman Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Marla A. Sole and her students Tamika Daley and Mendel Batashvili presented the paper “Never miss a teachable moment: How to cultivate statistical literacy and time-management traits that foster success” at the National Numeracy Network 2020-2021 Annual Meeting, held virtually February 26-28, 2021. According to the abstract, the presentation was on “a class project designed to investigate media claims that teens have changed their sleeping habits in response to the pandemic.” Guttman students Tamika Daley and Mendel Batashvili spoke about the research they and their peers conducted to collect “robust evidence to support or refute… the validity of claims made,” as well as what they learned from the project, both mathematically and personally. These gains, made through students “engaging… in meaningful, authentic investigations,” model how rigorous empirical methods can create a deeper grasp of statistics.
Guttman’s Dr. Grace Pai Co-Hosts American Mathematical Association of Two-Year College Webinar on COIL
With Dr. Irene Duranczyk of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Schiro Withanachchi of Queens College, CUNY, Guttman Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Grace Pai co-hosted “Globalizing Curriculums with Data: COIL Energizes the Learning Environment,” an installment in the 2021 American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Webinar Series sponsored by McGraw-Hill. The presenters explained Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), a high-impact pedagogical practice widely used in disciplines like language learning, cultural studies, and health studies. The objective of COIL is to connect classes from institutions in different countries in working together virtually on a common project, sometimes across disciplines.
Faculty Feature: Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Science
“More than anything, I want our students to know that they can succeed in science and math. They don’t have to pursue it, but I don’t want them to think that it’s not for them for any particular reason, except [if they don’t choose it.] If they want to, they can be good at it, or they can be interested in it… I just want them to feel like they belong. That it’s for them, if they want it.”
Dr. Karla Fuller, Associate Professor of Biology and Program Coordinator of Science, bears the unique distinction of being the very first faculty hired at Guttman, prior to the convocation of its inaugural first-year class in 2012 and the naming of the College. Seeing it as the urban likeness of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), she determined to fulfill her “mission in life” – giving students of color sustained opportunities to “have that moment like, ‘Oh, maybe I could study science’,” the realization critical to “increasing the overall percentage of underrepresented people in America who are scientists, the number of Black and Latino scientists in the field, and this means pursuing graduate studies or professional school after a Bachelor’s degree.” To this ambitious end, Dr. Fuller has spearheaded the establishment of Guttman’s Associate of Science (A.S.) degree Program of Study, forthcoming in Fall 2021.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jihyun Kim has co-authored “Brown grease pyrolysis under pressure: Extending the range of reaction conditions and hydrocarbon product distributions,” an article published in the April 2021 issue of Fuel, a top-tier peer-reviewed journal featuring primary research in the science and technology of fuel and energy. Written with Dr. Lawrence Pratt of Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Dr. Hoy Yin Lo, President and CEO of Synovel Laboratory, LLC, and Dr. Dequan Xiao of University of New Haven, the paper documents the use of a pressure reactor to explore the effects of higher temperatures and pressure on brown grease and to transform waste into fuel. Significantly, the research “resulted in shorter reaction times, reduced formation of undesirable ketone byproducts, and a higher percentage of the most valuable light hydrocarbon products.” This project builds on Dr. Kim’s longstanding focus on the potential beneficial uses of biofuels – brown grease, for one – and the development of eco-friendly chemical processes to reduce or eliminate toxic chemical waste.
The article “Creating a Culturally Relevant Statistics Assignment on z-scores,” authored by Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Grace Pai, has been published in the Winter 2021 issue of MathAMATYC Educator, a refereed publication of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. “This article illustrates how to design a statistics assignment on z-scores that is culturally relevant to students based on their prior experiences” and “shares design principles… that can be transferable to any statistics or quantitative analysis/reasoning class.” To further the work on equity within STEM-related fields in higher education, a critical facet of Guttman’s strategic goals, Dr. Pai’s article has responded to the need for culturally relevant curricular resources for college level mathematics courses.
Drs. Fuller, Kim, and Sole Present “Storytelling in STEM: How Narratives and Data Analysis Teach Real World Skills”
Guttman faculty Drs. Karla Fuller, Ji Kim, and Marla A. Sole presented the pedagogical practices they have implemented in their STEM courses at the Mid-Atlantic SENCER Center for Innovation Conference, an initiative of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) held virtually in January 2021. The presenters discussed how rigorous scientific methods were combined with readily understood contexts. In their courses, students gained real world data analysis skills by working on problems authentically connected to their lives: examining if home remedies have microbial properties; studying how cooking waste could be transformed into fuel; tracking the changes in teenagers’ habits during the pandemic. By incorporating students’ own narratives in teaching STEM concepts and skills, Drs. Fuller, Kim, and Sole have created opportunities for underrepresented students to succeed in mathematics and science courses and to share their experiences and developing knowledge with their families and communities. The presentation highlighted important benefits for students, including increased and deeper understanding of research methodology, building self-confidence in mathematics and science, and learning to communicate with a diverse audience. Furthermore, these innovative teaching practices have significant potential to expand equity and access in STEM courses.
Guttman Faculty Publish on Use of Culturally Responsive Curricula to Improve Engagement and Learning in Microbiology Lab Course
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.
With Dr. Shen Zhang from the Advanced Science Research Center, CUNY, Guttman Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jihyun Kim and Assistant Director of Academic Technology Christopher Roth have co-authored the article “Research In the Classroom: Introducing Nanomaterials at a Two-Year College.” Published in the International Journal of Research in STEM Education in November 2020, this article illustrates the transformation of research in the classroom within chemistry courses at Guttman. “Students worked in groups to research nanomaterials, came up with a series of carbon nanoparticles precursors from waste materials, and developed simple and cost-effective methods to produce carbon nanoparticles.” Through such “short course-based research experiences,” aided by the use of academic technologies, “students became more active learners,” gained a deeper appreciation of the physical sciences, “increased conceptual learning,” improved critical thinking skills, and connected what students learned about chemistry to their real-life experience. This important work exemplifies Guttman’s institutional emphasis on student-centered course design and experiential learning. The approach “also provided a platform to discuss sustainability, green chemistry, and nanomaterials,” thus preparing students for a role in emerging climate studies, a topic of utmost relevance in the 21st century.
In “Streamlining Time Spent in Alternative Developmental Mathematics Pathways: Increasing Access to College-Level Mathematics Courses by Altering Placement Procedures,” a study published by the Journal of Mathematics Education at Teachers College in July 2020, Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Marla A. Sole shows that placement in longer mathematics pathways to potentially boost remedial skills can actually impede student success. In addition to supporting and extending past findings that developmental work integrated into mathematics courses could hinder a student’s ability to accumulate credits and graduate in a timely manner, Dr. Sole has found that students in accelerated mathematics pathways accumulated more credits after one and two years of college, significantly increasing the likelihood of earning an Associate degree in two years. Supported by PRIME: Project for Relevant and Improved Mathematics Education, the research also demonstrated a statistically significant likelihood that students with strong high school averages but deemed non-proficient in mathematics earn grades of B- or higher in accelerated statistics pathways. This result has particularly important implications for curriculum developers, educators, and those who play a role in setting educational policies as they debate placement in remediation, which is a pertinent issue of equity and civil rights within higher education.