Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

SEPAL Alumna awarded prestigious NIH Career in Reproductive Biology Grant

Brenda Cisneros is a graduate from San Francisco State University. Here, she obtained both her BS Physiology and MS Physiology and Behavioral Biology, is now being coveted for a distinguished award. Now, she is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. In doing this, she will be bestowed with the Career Training in Reproductive Biology Grant. This grant seeks to establish a broad education of Reproductive Biology. The research areas vary from Mathematics, Physiology, Cell Biology, and Genetics. We here at SEPAL/Biology Department are so delighted to have one of our own receive a award of this caliber.

While here at San Francisco State University, she was under the wing of Dr. Megumi Fuse and was also a SEPAL Spectrum Scientist. Brenda is a member of SFSU SACNAS and was part of the first BIO 230 class our SEPAL Director, Kimberly Tanner, instructed.

CONGRATULATIONS and keep up the great work!



SFSU Eden Staff Appreciation Award for Trisha DeVera

   Congratulations to Trisha DeVera, SEPAL’s Program Administrator and Resource Center Manager, on receiving the 2017 SFSU Eden Staff Award!

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision











Tanner to Receive Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education

ANNUAL Meeting Preview Honors and Awards


  Kimberly D. Tanner

Tanner to Receive Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education

Kimberly D. Tanner, a professor in the Biology Department at San Francisco State University, will receive the Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education, for her tireless work to build local and national capacity for evidence-based teaching and biology education research.

A major thrust of Tanner’s research aims to understand the development of expertise in biology. As Erin Dolan, one of her nominators, noted, Tanner is breaking new ground with this work—drawing from diverse, relevant knowledge bases such as physics education research and cognitive science to understand how individuals at various stages of their biology training think about fundamental ideas in the discipline.

Tanner observes, “We train scientists to be outstanding researchers and then we parachute them into college and university classrooms with no training in how to effectively communicate their expertise to others.” As one consequence, the majority of students who are initially enthusiastic about science leave the field, “with disproportionate losses for women, students of color, and first-generation college- going students. Yet, we have extensive research literature from science education, psychology, and more recently discipline-based education research that if science faculty used more interactive teaching methods, we could both improve learning and prevent this loss of talent.”

At her talk in Philadelphia Tanner will discuss a new technological innovation—the Decibel Analysis for Research in Teaching tool (DART). “It’s like a Fitbit tool for faculty,” says Tanner. “If I lectured 95% of last class session, can I innovate such that I get that number down to 90% next class session?” To positively change the experience of science students, “we need large numbers of science faculty to make

small changes in their teaching, reducing the amount of lecture and increasing the amount of time that students have to talk, think, and write in class with their colleagues about the science they are learning…. Through our DART tool, we hope to support faculty in monitoring and iteratively shifting how they spend time in class with students.”

Tanner is influenced professionally by being a neuroscientist and a first-generation college student. She sees everything about evidence- based teaching and learning through the lens of neuroscience. She notes that teaching and learning are fundamentally about driving physical changes in the brain that encode long-term memories, which are then able to be retrieved in relevant situations. “If anyone should understand why we need to teach differently and move beyond only lecture approaches—and not just in classrooms, but also at conferences and in seminars—it should be scientists, especially biologists!” Tanner adds. She also sees higher education through the lens of an outsider, noting that for too long, success in school and science has depended on factors deeply rooted in aspects of culture that are tied to class, gender, and home community.

In describing her goals, Tanner states, “Through evidence-based teaching, I strive to make all science classrooms more equitable, fair, and inclusive of students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. If we as scientists want to solve the complex problems that
are facing us in the natural world…we must make our learning environments purposefully inclusive so as to retain the incredible talent from diverse communities that we are currently losing from our scientific disciplines at an alarming rate.”

Tanner will accept the award on December 4 at the ASCB|EMBO Meeting in Philadelphia. n

—Thea Clarke


Congratulation to our HHMI EXROP Awardees!

Congratulations to Donovan Ruiz and Justine Ramos, two SFSU students, have been chosen for the 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program.

Congratulations to SEPAL’s Undergraduate Researchers!

Alycia Maria Escobedo, Kristen Liang, and Katie Lam presented their research poster titled “Examining Differences in Non-Content Instructor Talk Across Varying Instructor Demographics” at the 2016 COSE Student Project Showcase at SFSU. They won 2nd place in the category for Undergraduate Life Sciences. Congratulations to you all!


Congratulations Rebecca!

Physiology major and SEPAL Bio 230 alumnus, Rebecca Moore, has been selected as a Beckman Scholar! Rebecca is currently doing research in Dr. Joseph Chen’s lab. Congratulations!


Congratulations SEPAL Graduate Students!

Melissa Richard (MS Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology) and John Rodriguez (MS Cell and Molecular Biology) were nominated for the 2016 Graduate Distinguished Achievement Awards!

Congratulations Shawntel!

Former SEPAL SPIKE alumna Shawntel Okonkwo (BS Physiology 2014) is a Ph.D. candidate in molecular biology at UCLA and recently became a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Congrats Shawntel!

Congratulations Brenda!

Brenda Cisneros is an SFSU BS Physiology alumna who is currently finishing her MS in Physiology in Megumi Fuse’s laboratory. In Fall 2010, she was in Bio 230 introductory biology course with Dr. Tanner, which was the first time the class was taught. Additionally, she was an esteemed Spectrum Scientist, has been funded through the SEO Programs, and is currently a SEPAL Resource Center Assistant.
Also, she will be matriculating to the University of Michigan’s doctoral program in Molecular & Integrative Physiology, and she is already making waves there as she was nominated for and awarded a Rackham Merit Fellowship and a Benard Maas Fellowship.Screenshot_2016-03-27-12-37-07-1

Congratulations 2016 Graduate Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients!

Name Department
Graduate Honorees
Mateo, Leslie Johanna Biology (Cell & Mol Biol)-MS
Kowalski, Beatriz Angela Biology (Microbiology)-MS
Meyers, Morgan Teal Biology (Marine Biology)-MS
Quintanilla, Luis Biology (Cell & Mol Biol)-MS
Richard, Melissa Biology ( Ecology, Evo. & Con. ) MS
Rodriguez, John Biology (Cell & Mol Biol)-MS
Snethlage, Cedric Elijah Biomedical Sci (Stm Cell S)-MS
Tabuena, Dennis R Biology (Physiology/Behavr)-MS

SEPAL Master’s Student Melissa Richard is Awarded an Instructionally Related (IRA) Research Award

Congratulations Melissa!

Congratulations Kimberly & John for being awarded from the National Science Foundation!

Kimberly Tanner and research colleague John Coley (Psychology Department at Northeastern University) have been awarded $1,383,544 over three years from the National Science Foundation to collaborate on our research entitled, “Investigating the influence of informal understandings about biology on formal learning of biological concepts”.

Start Date: August 1, 2015

Great news Kimberly & John! Continue working hard, you both deserve it!

SEPAL alumnus, Kathryn Danielson Published an Article!

The first author, Kathryn Danielson, was an National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Awardee during her graduate years at SFSU, and she who also won first prize for this work at an international conference on ocean acidification a few years ago. Now her work is published! She is currently employed as an educator at the California Academy of Sciences.

Check it out: Investigating Undergraduate Science Students’ Conceptions and Misconceptions of Ocean Acidification

Congratulations Kathryn!