SEPAL Post-Doctoral Fellows

Sarah Pickett

Post-Doctoral Fellow

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington


About Me

Sarah grew up in a small down of Vermont. She moved to New York City for schooling purposes. She attended New York University; and here she studied Biology, and Biological Anthropology. Currently, she is a PhD student in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Washington in Seattle. Here at UW, she studies sensory cells of Zebrafish Lateral Line System. These are called Hair Cells, and these allow for fish to sense water flow. She attributes her choice in career path to her middle and high school Biology instructors. Sarah loved their classes, and one thing which she was intrigued with was the ability to conduct experiments  and discovering something new. However, her focus on Biology education was an outcome of Graduate school. That was based on her involvement in science outreach. She has became passionate about making science more accessible in both informal and formal science education.


Research Interest: 

Sarah is very enthusiastic about joining SEPAL for her UW Graduate Discovery Fellowship. During this time she will explore whether differences in instructional language influence student reasoning and misconceptions about Biological concepts.


Advice for others: 

Knowing what she knows now she would tell her younger self and others that do a bit of exploring. Sarah always liked science, especially Biology. She always planned her course selection, and extracurricular activities to be mostly science focused. She writes “Biology is fascinating, but there are plenty of other interesting and important topics to learn and think about. Plus, you never know when you’ll find something new that inspires you” She encourages others to seek out other courses. Also, she like many around the globe faced the option of giving up, and switching career paths. Yet, she relied heavily on her community for encouragement in times of frustration or stress.

Maurina Aranda 

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

About Me

Maurina grew up in a small town named Hillsdale in Michigan. She would soon attend Alma University where she spent her undergraduate years. Upon graduation she would soon head to Indiana where she attended Purdue University. Maurina like the rest of here truly enjoys Biology. She could talk about cells all day long. She wants to share her passion and knowledge, both of those things combined led her to a career in Biology education.

Research Interests: 

She is interested in investigating how students learn about science and what they know about Biology (particularly Cellular Biology), and use this evidence to develop models of student learning. Maurina also wants to promote equity and diversity in the sciences; and understand how improving these practices via curriculum or pedagogy, can aid student learning while helping them construct their identity as a scientist within the field of Biology.

Advice for others: 

She would recommend not working so much, and having more fun. She too would say travel, and do this often. Exploring this world is something which exposes you to many new things. You immerse yourself in culture. One other thing, would be to surround yourself with diverse people. Like many students, she too faced challenges. She kept on going. She was glad to have not only her family, but her friends as reminders of motivation and encouragement.