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Education Report for May/June 2010

The AIBS Education Office provides analysis and communication for the AIBS Board, Headquarters Office, and Education Committee on issues of import to the AIBS membership and the larger scientific community. Reports are broadly disseminated by email every few months to AIBS membership leaders and contacts. Special reports are sent more frequently as needed. We have archived these reports here for your information and attention. Read about each report's contents below, then click to read the complete text.

Jo Handelsman Receives AIBS Education Award; Call for 2011 Nominations

Jo Handelsman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, received the 2010 AIBS Education Award on May 18th during this year’s annual awards ceremony. The Education Award honors individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to education in the biological sciences at any level of education. Handelsman is nationally recognized for her efforts to improve science education and increase the participation of women and other underrepresented groups in science at the university level. Read the full description in the press release: www.aibs.org/aibsrecognizes2010.html.

AIBS is currently seeking nominations for the 2011 Education Award. For complete details, visit www.aibs.org/about-aibs/awards.html.

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2010 NESCent/AIBS Evolution Symposium: "Molecular Insights into Classic Examples of Evolution"

The 2010 NESCent/AIBS Evolution Symposium, “Molecular Insights into Classic Examples of Evolution,” will take place on Friday, November 5th, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm at the National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The speakers are:

  • Edmund D. Brodie III, professor of biology and director of Mountain Lake Biological Station, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
  • Sean B. Carroll, professor of molecular biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the next vice president for science education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
  • Hopi E. Hoekstra, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Natural Sciences, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
  • Allen G. Rodrigo, director of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham, NC.

An educators’ workshop will take place the following day, Saturday, November 6th, from 9:00 am until noon, which will provide molecular evolution teaching resources and strategies to integrate molecular evolution into the classroom. Go to www.aibs.org/events/special-symposia/molecular_insights.html, or contact Susan Musante at smusante@aibs.org, to learn more details about the program and to get registration information.

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New in ActionBioscience.org

Two new articles and one new interview were published recently at AIBS’s ActionBioscience.org:

  • Seawater Desalination: Panacea or Hype? Heather Cooley, of the Pacific Institute’s Water Program, illustrates that although there are concerns about the commercialization of seawater desalination, such as regulation of greenhouse emissions, the technology is in use throughout the world for a wide range of purposes. www.actionbioscience.org/environment/cooley.html

  • What Do We Do with Too Many White-tailed Deer? Too many deer create problems for people and wildlife management. Thomas Rooney, Wright State University, explains how white-tailed deer density increases environmental damage and adds to costly community and agricultural headaches. He summarizes options to address deer overabundance. www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/rooney.html

  • The Challenge of Living at High Altitudes Many people suffer altitude sickness when traveling to higher altitudes. In this interview, Cynthia Beall, Case Western Reserve University, talks about how highlanders in the Andes and Tibet have adapted to the environmental stress of living on high plateaus. www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/beall.html

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NABT Professional Development Conference Opportunities

The Four-Year College & University Section of the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) invites you and your students to present research and exercises on teaching and learning biology at the NABT Undergraduate Education Poster Session. Posters can present the incorporation of new teaching strategies, techniques, or programs. This event will take place during the 2010 Professional Development Conference, from November 2nd through 6th, in Minneapolis, MN. Deadline for submissions is July 15th. For guidelines, access to the poster submission form, and contact information, go to www.nabt.org/websites/institution/index.php?p=577.

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New in April's BioScience: Eye on Education

Susan Musante, AIBS Education Programs Manager, writes about how undergraduate students in UC Davis’s Collaborative Learning at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology (CLIMB) program have developed their own research questions in the April issue of BioScience. The complete article is freely accessible through University of California Press Journals on Caliber (http://caliber.ucpress.net/doi/full/10.1525/bio.2010.60.4.4) or on the AIBS website (www.aibs.org/eye-on-education). Here is an excerpt from “Learning How to Ask Research Questions”:

Collaborative research is a demanding endeavor, and for a group of undergraduate students tasked with identifying their own interdisciplinary research problem, the challenges are even greater. “It was scary—we didn’t know what to ask the professors, and we couldn’t decide on a research question,” says Miran Park, a student at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), about her first quarter there in the Collaborative Learning at the Interface of Mathematics and Biology (CLIMB) program. The yearlong program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s Undergraduate Biology and Mathematics program, is modeled on UC Davis’s Biological Invasions IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program….

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The Latest Evolution in the News from NESCent and Understanding Evolution: "Making sense of ancient hominin DNA"

When archaeologists discovered a 40,000-year-old pinky bone in a Siberian cave, everyone wondered who the bone belonged to. Researchers extracted DNA from the fossil and used it to construct an evolutionary tree to see how the pinky bone’s owner was related to modern day humans and Neanderthals. Scientists were surprised by what they found. Read more about it in this month’s Evo in the News: “Making sense of ancient hominin DNA,” found at http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/100501_xwoman. Evo in the News is a joint effort of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), producing a text story and podcast each month about recent breakthroughs in evolutionary biology research and its applications in society, along with links to background literature and classroom resources.

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NESCent's Targeted Sabbaticals in Evolutionary Biology for MSI Faculty

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) is an NSF-funded evolutionary biology research center in Durham, NC, representing a partnership of Duke University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As part of NESCent’s commitment to increasing diversity in evolutionary biology, it offers targeted sabbatical opportunities to evolutionary biologists from minority-serving institutions (MSIs) for projects that will increase minority participation in evolutionary science and/or develop evolution education activities. NESCent provides stipends up to the equivalent of a full salary (monthly stipend equal to 1/12th of a 9-month salary at home institution). A housing allowance up to $1,000/month can also be provided. Deadlines for NESCent Targeted Sabbaticals are July 10th and December 1st each year. For more information and to apply, please see www.nescent.org/science/targetedsabbatical.php or contact Jory Weintraub (jory@nescent.org).

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2010 AAAS Mentor Awards--Call for Nominations

AAAS is seeking nominations for the 2010 AAAS Mentor Awards. All nominations are due by July 31st. The two categories of the AAAS Mentor Awards are the Lifetime Mentor Award and the Mentor Award. Both awards honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the science and engineering PhD workforce. These groups include: women of all racial or ethnic groups; African American, Native American, and Hispanic men; and people with disabilities. For more information and to download the nomination form, please visit www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/mentor/index.shtml. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Brittany Taggart, by email (btaggart@aaas.org) or by phone: 202-326-6671.

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Fulbright Scholar Program for US Faculty and Professionals for 2011-2012

The Fulbright Scholar Program offers 31 awards in teaching, research, or combined teaching/research in biology, including three Fulbright Distinguished Chairs. In addition, faculty and professionals in biology also can apply for one of the 175 “All Discipline” awards open to all fields. Opportunities in the sciences include awards throughout South America, in the Caribbean, across Europe, in Estonia, as a distinguished Fulbright Arctic Chair award in Norway, through special Aquitaine regional awards in France, and a special science and innovation award to lecture/research at a leading Russian university or research institute, including one of the 14 newly created federal research institutions. Faculty and professionals are encouraged to participate in one of the weekly webinars to learn about these and other opportunities. For information, visit www.iie.org/en/Fulbright. The application deadline is August 2, 2010. US citizenship is required. For more on international opportunities, visit www.iie.org/cies or contact scholars@iie.org.

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