SEPAL Master’s Students

Lucia Hau

luciah@mail.sfsu.edu

About Me

I was born and raised in San Francisco. I attended San Francisco State University where I graduated with a Biology degree, emphasis in Physiology. I’ve worked with nonprofit organizations throughout my undergraduate years and after graduating from SFSU. I’m currently working with the Graduate Support Program at De Marillac Academy, located in the Tenderloin. I work closely with eight grade students while they are applying to high schools and I help facilitate graduate support workshops that are offered to students. I also decided to come back to SFSU and join the SEPAL Lab because I really admire all the work that has been contributed to transforming science education.

Research Interest

My current research interest is to explore Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) biology students’ experiences at SFSU. I will be conducting an interview study to compare their experiences at SFSU majoring in biology. My hope to help redefine how people think about AAPI students in science education because the experiences of the individuals within the AAPI community is not monolithic.

Elleanor Pangilinan

espangil@mail.sfsu.edu

About Me

Growing up in and around San Pablo, CA (Huichin Ohlone Territory) fostered my curiosity to understand the connections between the big impact of small changes around me. I began my journey in higher education at Contra Costa College and transferred to UC Davis where I completed a degree in Nutritional Biology. My experiences as a disabled first-generation transfer student brought me to question how I could utilize my background in science, so I took to the lab and my community to learn more. I engaged in several research opportunities studying the molecular mechanisms of early development and disease in frogs and worms, and was actively involved in community programs & student organizing, particularly with transfer and non-traditional students and students of color in STEM. These experiences fostered my interest in reshaping experiences in higher education, and has led to my current shenanigans as a Program Lead through the HSI STEM Grant at Contra Costa College (the community college I transferred from!) and now, a SEPAL graduate student at SFSU. When I’m not plotting with students about their future plans in STEM, you can find me sampling desserts around the East Bay or falling off a surfboard at a Bay Area beach.

Research Interests

I am currently investigating the experiences of biology faculty of color at Historically White Institutions (HWIs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Through this interview study, I would like to gain insight into how and to what extent biology faculty of color at HWIs and MSIs incorporate their social identities into their professional work. Through this study, I aim to contribute to building greater understanding regarding the experiences of faculty of color in the sciences. My hope is that this work can additionally inform institutional change(s) to create safer and more humanizing spaces for marginalized individuals in higher education.

Francisco Sanchez-Vasquez

fsanchezvasquez@sfsu.edu

About Me

I am pursuing my graduate degree because I am passionate about biology and want to get one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a Biology Professor. I have been passionate about Biology since I was a little kid and have always been curious about the world and how things work. I feel that a lot of people go through a similar phase, and I would love to continue learning biology and eventually passing on my knowledge through teaching. I love how the research conducted at SEPAL focuses on bringing equity and diversity to science. Throughout my undergraduate biology courses, I experienced a lack of equity and diversity and would love to help make biology courses more inclusive. As a first-generation college student, I have observed too many individuals from minority backgrounds get discouraged in their pursuit of STEM-related education such as Biology due to a lack of educational resources, guidance, and most importantly teaching strategies that were implemented throughout their educational journeys. I look forward to being a part of a team that helps in restructuring teaching/learning. I also hope to one day motivate minorities, low-income individuals, and people that look like me by sparking their interest in Biology through effective teaching methods.

Research Interests

Within the recent years there has been a shift in educational reform and the importance of the educational outcomes of students of color, specifically in STEM. According to the NSF, in the United States, Latino/a and African American students obtain fewer college degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) than White and Asian men (NSF, 2013). Thankfully, many efforts have focused on faculty interventions and propositions to help increase inclusion in STEM. However, very few studies have focused on interviewing student leaders of color, specifically those who got the chance to work directly with faculty to help increase inclusion and obtain any information they could offer regarding the effectiveness of inclusive teaching strategies that were observed in the biology classroom. By conducting this interview study, it will allow them to also share any non-inclusive strategies that they observed. This study can provide useful approaches and strategies to increase inclusion which can be implemented in the classroom to increase student outcomes and sense of belonging within the Biology classroom.

Katherine White

kwhite20@sfsu.edu

About Me

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.  After high school, I attended Humboldt State University (HSU) and earned my B.S. in Environmental Science.  While at HSU, I benefited from a diverse array of coursework, participated in clubs and extracurricular activities, and stretched my legs as a backpacker.  I found my experiences in nature fundamental to my personal development, and sought out field work during the summers. Following graduation, I completed an AmeriCorps internship where I gained experience in outdoor science education and discovered my passion for teaching.  Since then, I have served several years in public schools and volunteered as an outdoor science educator.  I attained my Certificate in Faculty Preparation at HSU, out of a desire to teach collegiate level science. Today, I am pleased to be working in SEPAL with other like-minded and passionate science educators!  I am currently serving as a graduate teaching assistant at San Francisco State University, and continue to work as an after-school assistant at a public school.

Research Interests

My current research interests are focused on the use and power of story, or more specifically case studies within science education.  The use of case studies has long been documented to improve student comprehension of complex scientific concepts.  However, several aspects have yet to be studied.  For example, one wonders how frequently case studies are used in undergraduate science courses, and whose stories are being told.  By investigating one or more of these questions, I hope to contribute to student engagement and comprehension in undergraduate science courses.