Briana McCarthy

Current Position: Professor of Biological Sciences at Los Medanos College

Contact: brianamc@sfsu.edu

Degree: Master’s Degree in Biology

Advisor: Kimberly Tanner

Research Project

Briana investigated the assumption in the research literature that biology majors and environmental studies (ES) majors graduate as experts in their fields. She collected written responses to statements, such as “The greenhouse effect can be made smaller by planting trees,” from biology majors and ES majors. She found that ES majors provided more complete explanations of how photosynthesis and respiration impact the greenhouse effect. Upon interviewing a small subset of these students, she discovered that students generally struggled to piece together respiration, photosynthesis, and carbon cycling. Briana hopes her research will inform teaching at the college level and encourage teachers to help students’ structure their fragmented knowledge.

Briana’s Links