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January 2024 e-news

So much news! 

We hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays and the winter break.  SENCER leaders, fellows and ambassadors were busy convening, organizing, presenting and advancing civically engaged teaching and research!  Here are some of the highlights:

NCSCE International Water Fellows Research on Wastewater Epidemiology

Thanks to generous support from an anonymous donor, NCSCE sponsored the convening of non US and US Water Fellows for several days of workshops on wastewater research and education.  They met from Nov. 19 to 23 (yep, thanksgiving!) The Fellows who were able to meet in person for several days of workshops at Davida Smyth’s lab at Texas A&M-San Antonio were:

Florencia Cancela, Uruguay

Luz de Maria Breton Deval, Mexico

Sherryl Broverman, US (Duke U)

Bhawani Venkataraman, US (The New School)

They were joined by Walter Den and Joe Simpson (both Texas A&M-San Antonio Water Institute) The group met virtually through zoom with Fellows who have applied for Visas and will travel to US for the second workshop later in 2024:

Shray Saxena, Bangalore, India

Rohini Pradeep, Bangalore, India

Kennedy Mikula, Kenya

Judith Obiero, Kenya 

Monica Trujillo, US and Uruguay (Queensborough Community College)

The workshop focused on Lab activities in the morning – wastewater bead protocol with the robot, micro/chem activities, and tackled case/curriculum study development for the case studies/course activities handbook in the afternoon – This session included a primer on how to get case studied published/into a format for publication. ( Florencia, Bhawani, Sherryl, Luz on TAMUSA campus) 


Update on Texas A&M-San Antonio (TAMUSA) NSF IUSE Awarded to support a SENCERized water curriculum and research at TAMUSA and beyond HSI Pilot Project: WaTR3: Retention, relevance, and readiness through bridging water security issues in San Antonio. 

This project is up and running with a Faculty Mentoring Network on the QUBES Hub: Teaching through the Issues. In this FMN participants will learn basic SENCER course design strategies and work collaboratively develop their own courses using complex civic challenges of particular relevance to students in San Antonio, including water and homelessness.



Thanks to our participation in two funded initiatives, in 2024 SENCER and NCSCE will be focusing on education and research on the critical civic challenge of Water.  Floods, droughts, toxins, pollution, sea level rise--all threaten human health and well-being.  Indigenous people have always known that "Water is Life," and the use, misuse and waste of water is an existential matter for all humans.  Current projects focus on building water literacy and the water workforce, and supporting wastewater research in the US and abroad to identify and track emerging disease outbreaks.  A recent presentation of NCSCE Global Water Fellows project is here:  Water: The Wickedest Problem

SHARE YOUR WORK! To support undergraduate education that teaches "through" water NCSCE is collecting models of syllabi, modules, and multi-course programs in all disciplines that focus on water. If you would like to share your work with colleagues, you can use THIS FORM



SENCER was well represented in the 36th Annual CalStateU Biotechnology Symposium which was held Thursday – Saturday, January 11-13, 2024

In the workshop SENCERizing Your CUREs and All of Us Research Workbench participants learned about SENCER and the NIH funded All of Us Research Workbench, which is collecting the most diverse health database in history and available for researchers. Learn how data in the Research Workbench has been used in creating CUREs courses and how CUREs projects could be conducted collaboratively across CSU and other interested campuses.  

The panel was organized by Janey Youngblom, CSU Stanislaus, and
SENCER Ambassador Amy Sprowles, Cal Poly Humboldt. It included presentations by NCSCE Dep. Dir.
Davida Smyth – Associate Professor, Life Sciences Department, Texas A&M University San Antonio; and Kathyrn McDougal – Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University. 



SENCER Ambassador Gordon Uno and Jim Collins (Arizona State U) are continuing their work updating and expanding the AAAS Liberal Art of Science Initiative (1990).  NCSCE is partnering with them on this effort to revise the recommendations and develop a framework and model for STEM education in the 21st century. The new model will reflect the distinctive political and cultural challenges to inclusive, effective and civically relevant STEM teaching  presented by the current moment. To see the results of the first iteration of this project see:

 Thanks to the alignment of both the original and updated LAS with SENCER ideals and strategy the PI’s have decided to host phase II of this project at NCSCE.



Are you going to AAAS meeting in Denver?  Check out our panel:

 Teaching Climate Justice and Civic Engagement Across the STEM Curriculum

Moderated by Eliza Reilly of NCSCE and organized by SENCER Ambassador Pat Marsteller. Featuring presentations from  SENCER Ambassador Sonya Doucette, Bellevue College, Deb Morrison, UW and Ethel Vereen Morehouse College

Saturday, 1/17 at 10AM If you are in Denver, hope you will attend!


Things to check out!

SENCER affiliate Geraldine Mooney-Simmie (you may remember her presentation with Sara Tolbert at last year’s Summer Institute) called our attention to her recorded talk that resonates strongly with the aims of SENCER pedagogy:

See the link to my recent EPI*STEM talk with Professor Luke O’Neill and Dr. Regina Kelly for science student teachers: nourishing joy, skepticism, creativity, collaboration and cool thinking in teaching young people science in the junior cycle school classroom and science laboratory:

“Real Science” in School Science? With Prof Luke O’Neill, Prof Geraldine Mooney Simmie and Dr Regina Kelly (

See the link to their new paper in PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN EDUCATION

Opportunity from the Hastings Center

Applications due February 23: The Hastings Center Summer Bioethics Program for Underrepresented Undergraduates is a five-day live online program for undergraduate students from groups that are underrepresented in bioethics. These groups include and are not limited to communities of color, Indigenous communities, rural residents, low-income students, first-generation students, students with disabilities, and LGBT+ students. This program is part of The Hastings Center’s efforts to build a more inclusive bioethics community.

Summer Bioethics Program for Underrepresented Undergraduates


Do you know about the RIOS Institute? (Racially-Just, Inclusive, and Open STEM Education) Check out their newsletter here!


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