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K-State Today

March 27, 2019

Nobel laureate to address STEM educators

Submitted by Patrice Scott

Leland H. Hartwell

STEM educators across Kansas as well as K-State faculty, students and staff will have access to a Nobel laureate thanks to a partnership between the College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences and the internet. 

Leland Hartwell, professor and director of the Biodesign Pathfinder Center at Arizona State University and 2001 Nobel laureate, will present "Experiencing Science: Motivating Educators and Learners to Become Innovators" at 3:30 p.m. April 24 in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. His presentation will begin with a video message followed by a remote Q&A session. The Zoom link, ksu.zoom.us/j/443224628, will be available for off-campus educators. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. 

Hartwell said current science standards require scientific inquiry but many teachers have never experienced inquiry themselves. The "middle school cliff" — the time when students decide whether they are good or not good at science — is actually the ideal time to make changes. 

"This is where the curriculum can make a difference," Hartwell said. The Nobel laureate is anxious to share what he's learned as a result of his "authentic science experiences" model working with middle school students, future teachers at Arizona State and in professional development workshops with middle school science teachers.    

"Nearly all science courses from K-12 through higher education, including laboratories, are about the history of science," Hartwell said. "Doing science is an entirely different experience; it is about exploring the unknown." 

Hartwell has turned his attention toward education to help inspire the next generation of scientists — and teachers are the critical link. 

David S. Allen, College of Education associate professor of curriculum and instruction and director of Center for STEAM Education, and Kathrin Schrick, College of Arts and Sciences associate professor of biology, collaborated to make this event. Hartwell was Schrick's major professor while working on her doctorate in genetics at the University of Washington. 

"Over the years he has inspired scientists and researchers across the world," Schrick said. "That is why I am so thrilled to host this event on behalf of Kansas teachers and the K-State community."

Allen is equally enthusiastic about Hartwell's presentation. 

"This is an opportunity for STEAM teachers from across the state to interact with Dr. Hartwell, who is turning his attention to science educators with the vision of preparing a new generation of capable students to solve problems arising within the world in which we live," Allen said. 

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