Affiliated Faculty Spotlight
The WSU Health Science STEM Education Research Center welcomes new additions Gregg Godsey and Dr. Devasmita Chakraverty! Gregg is the new Project Lead The Way Director, and Deva is our new Science Education faculty member and lead researcher.
Gregg Godsey has a master’s degree in biology from Washington State University and a BA in biology from Earlham College in Indiana. Most of his early work was in ecological studies of bats and birds. He worked as a museum preparator at WSU’s Conner Museum for three years. His training eventually led him into high school science teaching – 28 years in Washington and 24 of them in a rural district north of Spokane.
Gregg Godsey’s current position at WSU as the Project Lead The Way Biomedical Sciences Director and adjunct faculty gives him a chance to continue his work by getting great science/STEM curriculum into classrooms across the state and around the country.
Discussing the need for programs like Project Lead The Way, he says: “When up to twenty percent of your students are on IEPs (individual education plans), and others with many challenges to surmount, you work hard to adapt the curriculum and apply your best pedagogical skills to give them a great experience. I was always prodding my students to think, to question, to analyze. In my last years at Riverside High School, I found a huge boost for my students, and for me, in Project Lead The Way courses.”
In the summer of 2016, 63 teachers, mainly from Washington, were trained on the WSU Health Sciences Campus in Spokane in the Project Lead the Way curriculum for biomedical sciences. The colleges of Pharmacy and Nursing were especially generous in allowing the use of their labs for the training. The challenge each summer is finding suitable lab and classroom space.
Gregg Godsey thinks that one of the important pieces in Project Lead The Way programs is that teachers get a solid and supportive professional development before they head into the classroom. Teachers come out of the trainings with a rounded experience of being a student using the curriculum, along with a group of fellow teachers that form a part of their online support community. For some teachers, this is a new way to approach student learning that is more effective and career oriented.
In the summer of 2017, there are spaces for up to 96 teachers, many of whom come from rural areas. There will be four two-week classes or trainings that occur July 24 through August 4.
Dr. Devasmita Chakraverty is an Assistant Professor of Science Education. She holds a Ph.D. in science education, master’s degrees in public health (toxicology) and environmental sciences, and a bachelor’s degree in zoology. Additionally, she has experience working as a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry education as well as biology education. She has lived and worked in the U.S., India and Germany.
Devasmita works with colleagues within and outside WSU to understand the experiences of underrepresented groups (based on gender and race/ethnicity) in medicine, biomedical sciences and STEM programs. She has been an active team member for Project TrEMUR, an NIH-funded study that examines the transition experiences of minorities underrepresented in research. She received the WSU Faculty Research Funding Award (2017) and is a 2017 Jhumki Basu Scholar.
One of her many initiatives examines the challenges students face within U.S. biomedical science programs during their Ph.D. training. In another initiative, she takes a closer look at the MD-Ph.D. training programs for physician-scientists, examining their challenges and overall experiences while transitioning between phases of this dual-degree program. These transition points are where students are more vulnerable to dropping out due to lack of enhanced mentorship and institutional support. Additionally, Devasmita will be examining how experiencing moderate to high levels of imposterism determines career choices and professional decision-making for individuals in STEM Ph.D. programs. In 2017, she will be presenting her research at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, the American Educational Research Association, and the Association of American Medical Colleges meetings.
In summary, Devasmita focuses her efforts on how to better support students in the STEM and medical education and training continuum. She currently teaches a graduate level course in survey development at the WSU. She has also been invited to teach a course in academic writing at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai. Devasmita aims for more collaborative work with partners in other countries, aiming to empower the underprivileged, help students build stronger science identity and self-efficacy, and disprove existing stereotypes where science is viewed as an elusive field only for the few.