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The Team

Dr. Davida Smyth is the developer of the Understanding Science module. She is an Associate Professor of Natural Sciences at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts. She engages in pedagogical research aimed at improving civic and scientific literacy in biology and on how integrating authentic research into the curriculum can improve student engagement and success in science. She is a Senior Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities (SENCER) Leadership Fellow as well as a Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE) Fellow and Ambassador. She is Deputy Director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. She is the co-PI of the NSF-funded Research Experiences in Microbiomes Research Coordination Network and co-PI of the NSF Funded Project "Collaborative Research: Metapopulation Modeling to Develop Strategies to Reduce COVID-19 Transmission in Public Spaces". She is a member of the Editorial Board of BMC Infectious Diseases, PLOS ONE and Science and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. 

Dr. Trace Jordan is the Covid-19 Science module. Dr. Trace Jordan, is Director of the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry component of the College Core Curriculum at New York University. In this capacity, he provides educational leadership for a large-scale academic program (1100 students per semester) that offers engaging, contemporary, lab-based science courses for nonmajors. He regularly teaches a course entitled "Molecules of Life" and co-authored a textbook, Chemistry: The Molecules of Life, that is published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Jordan has received four awards from NYU for outstanding teaching, and his educational research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundations, and the U.S. Department of Education.  He is a Senior Leadership Fellow for SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) and serves as co-editor-in-chief for Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal. Dr. Jordan earned B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in physics from the University of Essex (UK), an M.A. in the history of philosophy of science from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University.


Dr. Robert Seiser is the developer of the Vaccine Science module. He is an associate professor of biology & chemistry and graduate studies coordinator at Roosevelt University. He has over 15 years of experience teaching theme-based Cell Biology, Immunology and Research Methods to undergraduate and master’s students, and has developed courses in history of science (seminar format) and scientific methods (online format) for non-majors and honors curricula. Dr. Seiser’s pedagogical approach is grounded in civic engagement and has included disciplinary service-learning, community education and public advocacy as integral course activities at all levels. 


Dr. Meghan Moran is the developer of  Vaccine Science Communication module. She is an associate professor in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she studies health communication. She has studied public communication about vaccines and how to promote vaccine uptake. She teaches courses in health communication and persuasive communication. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIDA and NCI), the US Food & Drug Administration, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Dr. Moran received her PhD in Communication from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and completed postdoctoral training in Preventive Medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine.

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Dr. Ulla Hasager is leading the project work with Indigenous communities. She is an anthropologist, associate professor of ethnic studies, and director of Civic Engagement at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Social Sciences. She has extensive experience working with Indigenous communities. 






Dr. Sheryl Sorby leads the project evaluation. Dr. Sorby is a former program officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation and has significant experience in project evaluation. In addition, she has been the PI or Co-PI on more than $14M in educational funding from the NSF and Department of Education and has developed and implemented evaluation plans for her various projects. 

Nathan Kahl is the project communication expert. He is Chief Messaging Officer for the American Society for Engineering Education, where he oversees communication content and channels, manages branding and messaging, and generally tells the world how great ASEE’s members are. Previously, he worked in communications at the National Academy of Engineering and even did a stint as a Starbucks manager, where he learned more about the world than at any other point in his life. 


Dr. Amy Shachter is the project Principle Investigator.  She is currently the National Director of SENCER Centers of Innovation and Regional Engagement and SENCER Visiting Research Scholar at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.  Shachter is also chair of the advisory board for the W.M. Keck Foundation funded Transcending Barriers to Success project. She is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Santa Clara University and will be on sabbatical working on science education and academic leadership projects for 2020-21.

Dr. Karen Oates is the project co-PI. A nationally recognized higher education researcher and science educator, Dr. Oates brings a wide range of deep experiences from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Harrisburg University, George Mason University, the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, NIH and NSF. Dr. Oates was trained as an immunologist and biochemist at George Washington University.  Among the honors she has received are the Bruce Alberts Award for excellence in science education reform, and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor presented by the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2012, she was inducted as an education fellow into the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2016 designated a Sigma Xi distinguished lecturer. Dr. Oates established the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement.

Sherene Victor is the Project Manager. She recently graduated from Santa Clara University (SCU) with a Bachelor's in Computer Science and Engineering, and minors in Mathematics and Entrepreneurship. While on campus, she served as the Assistant Director for the Johnson Scholars program and the President of Alpha Sigma Nu. She currently is a Software Engineer at Google and is the Project Coordinator for the RAPID research grant.

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