SCMS Seminar: Just Inquire - Assessing Student Perspectives on First Semester General Chemistry through Weekly Homework Assignments

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Chemistry and Materials Science Seminar
Just Inquire: Assessing Student Perspectives on First Semester General Chemistry through Weekly Homework Assignments

Dr. Ariel Vaughn
Assistant Professor
CA State University- Channel Islands

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There is a known disconnect between the real-world applications of chemistry and what is traditionally taught in the classroom. This disconnect prevents students from understanding the point of the chemistry that they are learning. This issue is particularly problematic for diverse students who might already be struggling with their scientific identity. The Vaughn Lab specifically focuses on homework assignment design to help students see themselves as chemists and identify chemistry in the world around them. In this study, we look at how students in a flipped classroom at California State University Channel Islands view chemistry in the world around them through the lens of their weekly homework assignments. This data was collected for the first semester of general chemistry. The responses were coded in NVivo 14 to determine how students see chemistry in the work around them and if asking them weekly about it changes their views on chemistry. The data was analyzed based on a variety of categories including, but not limited to, correctness, the types of examples, and the use of scientific language. Preliminary results suggest that asking students weekly about chemistry outside of the classroom results in an increased engagement with the material and may impact how students view chemistry in the world around them.

Speaker bio:
Dr. Ariel Vaughn (she/her) grew up in a town of less than 5,000 people in Northern California. She is an Indigenous first-generation student and was a community college student before receiving her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from UC Davis in 2014. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry and community college stockrooms before returning to graduate school in 2016. Dr. Vaughn was a 2018 NSF GRFP Fellow and a 2018 GEM Fellow through Los Alamos National Laboratories while in graduate school. Though trained in nonlinear spectroscopy, in January of 2021 as a graduate student, she started her first Chemical Education Research project. She completed her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Southern California in June of 2021. After graduate school, Dr. Vaughn was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Keck Science Department at Scripps, Pitzer, and Claremont McKenna Colleges for the 2021 – 2022 academic year. She then joined California State University Channel Islands as an Assistant Professor in Fall of 2022. At CSUCI, she is the co-faculty advisor for the CI SACNAS chapter and the co-advisor and co-founder of the Native American and Indigenous Students Association on campus. Her research focuses on changing students’ perceptions of chemistry in the world around them through the design of homework assignments. The Vaughn Lab is a chemical education research laboratory working to make chemistry education more inclusive. When she isn’t teaching, Dr. Vaughn spends her time reading, beading, traveling, and hiking. She actively participates in Indigenous community events in both LA and Ventura counties and is a subcommittee board member for the SACNAS National Organization’s Government and Industry Relations and Public Policy Subcommittee.

Intended Audience:
All are welcome.

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Nathan Eddingsaas
Event Snapshot
When and Where
April 23, 2024
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Room/Location: via Zoom

This is an RIT Only Event

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