SEPAL Postdoctoral Fellows

Andrea Burton, Ph.D.

About Me

I grew up in Northern Virginia. I received my B.S. from Juniata College in Biology with and emphasis in Marine Science. I took a break from academia to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, teaching Biology and Math to deaf and hard of hearing students at Machakos School for the Deaf Secondary School. Following my experience in Kenya, attended Northeastern Universities’ Three Seas Program to complete my Professional Science Masters in Marine Biology. My time through the Three Seas Program introduced me to the United States Department of Agriculture where I obtained a research technician position. I then attended Oregon State University (OSU) to obtain my Ph.D. in Integrative Biology where I continued to work with marine organisms by examining their adaptive potential to climate stressors utilizing genomic techniques.

Throughout my time at OSU, I taught a number of Biology courses and completed my Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching (GCCUT). My experience teaching at OSU and through the GCCUT program introduced me to the variety of ways classrooms can be taught and different techniques to improving student performance and understanding. I now wish to expand on this experience by conducting my own research on how to improve science education in order to improve student learning.

Research Interest

My research is under development, but I aim to examine teaching techniques that improve student retention and understanding of complex topics in science. To address this, I aim to understand more how students think and form long term memory.

Lorenzo Lones, Ph.D.

About Me

I grew up in Chicago. I received my B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in Psychology & Human Biology. I obtained a PhD in Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis where I studied how glial cells regulate water/ion homeostasis and seizure susceptibility in epilepsy. Throughout my time at WashU I taught a number undergraduate, graduate and medical school courses.

Research Interest

My research project is still being crafted, but I’m interested in assessing how/if the non-content Instructor Talk around Scientist Spotlights shifts aspects of science identity amongst middle school students.

Katerina Günter, Ph.D.

About Me

I am a queer, first gen, university graduate. I grew up in Southwest Germany, living with a single parent and moving from the countryside of the Black Forest to Mannheim during high school. Together with my dog Bonnie, I discovered my love for nature and for being outdoors. After graduating from high school, I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do, as I was interested in very different things. I chose nature and to study biology at Heidelberg University in Germany, as it would give me a broad perspective on all the living in this world.

Since I struggled as a first gen university student, not really understanding academic rules and practices, I quit my studies and did a voluntary year working in environmental pedagogy. Working with real biologists that have become close friends has helped me feel like I belong to the biology community, I went back to university and finished my undergraduate in zoology, marine biology, and ecotoxicology. After that, I moved on to do a Master’s in ecology and evolution at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where I participated in an ERASMUS exchange with Uppsala University in Sweden.  As I was intrigued by both the Swedish nature, culture, and people, I moved to Sweden and finished my Mater’s in Nordic biodiversity and plants systematics.

Being in, between, and among all these different spaces, navigating different disciplines, and meeting different people, has shaped my interest in the cultures of higher education biology and the processes that make us feel included or excluded from higher biology education. When I finished up my Master’s, the Centre for Gender Research at Uppsala University advertised a PhD position that would allow candidates to explore higher biology from a gender perspective. I applied, was offered the position, and from then on developed a project that focused on students’ and faculty’s identity work in a Swedish and extended European context.

In the end, I could combine many of those very different things that I have been interested in. Biology, education, social justice. Reach out anytime if you would like to talk biology education, academia, life, anything – I am happy to discuss and reflect with you!

Research Interest

Being a queer biologist who has transitioned into gender studies and science education, I am very interested in how we are shaped by the environments, histories, cultures, and interactions that surround us – especially in relation to science learning. What identities and practices do we imagine as the norm within science education? How do these imaginaries shape our participation? How do we relate or not relate to them? How does this relatability contribute to developing a sense of belonging and thereby to processes of in- and exclusions?

At SEPAL, I am hoping to combine the perspectives and skills that I have developed during my PhD with the amazing work that has been done by all the SEPAL people. I will work in particular on the effects of the Scientist Spotlights Project – both in terms of students’ as well as instructors’ perspectives. I will also explore how instructor language shapes processes within the classroom as well as understandings of conceptual understandings in biology.