Drs. Fuller, Kim, and Sole Present “Storytelling in STEM: How Narratives and Data Analysis Teach Real World Skills”



March 16, 2021 | Academics, Conference Presentation, Faculty, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Research, STEM

Guttman faculty Drs. Karla Fuller, Ji Kim, and Marla A. Sole presented the pedagogical practices they have implemented in their STEM courses at the Mid-Atlantic SENCER Center for Innovation Conference, an initiative of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) held virtually in January 2021. The presenters discussed how rigorous scientific methods were combined with readily understood contexts. In their courses, students gained real world data analysis skills by working on problems authentically connected to their lives: examining if home remedies have microbial properties; studying how cooking waste could be transformed into fuel; tracking the changes in teenagers’ habits during the pandemic. By incorporating students’ own narratives in teaching STEM concepts and skills, Drs. Fuller, Kim, and Sole have created opportunities for underrepresented students to succeed in mathematics and science courses and to share their experiences and developing knowledge with their families and communities. The presentation highlighted important benefits for students, including increased and deeper understanding of research methodology, building self-confidence in mathematics and science, and learning to communicate with a diverse audience. Furthermore, these innovative teaching practices have significant potential to expand equity and access in STEM courses.

Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Fuller earned her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology in cancer genetics from Purdue University. After a post-doctoral appointment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Science Park Research Center, she shifted her focus to mentoring and teaching undergraduate students at the community college level. At Guttman, Dr. Fuller teaches a variety of biology classes and serves as the Coordinator of the Liberal Arts and Sciences – Science and Math track. In addition, she mentors students in research projects ranging from antibiotic resistance to virtual reality for science education. Dr. Fuller’s research interests include best practices to increase learning and success for undergraduate science students, particularly from underserved populations. She received the awards of the National Association of Biology Teachers Two-Year College Teacher of the Year for 2016 and the Education Update 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Kim earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She conducted her postdoctoral studies in breast cancer at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC, and earned a fellowship from the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Before starting at Guttman in 2017, Dr. Kim taught courses in all areas of chemistry at multiple colleges in the CUNY system, as well as William Paterson University and Ramapo College of New Jersey. Along with Dr. Lawrence Pratt from Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Dr. Kim was awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant toward the development of a new biofuel from a mixture of brown grease and waste plastics. Her research centers on developing eco-friendly chemical processes to reduce or eliminate toxic chemical waste.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Sole holds a doctorate in mathematics education from New York University and has authored numerous articles in statistics and mathematics education journals. Dr. Sole has taught a wide range of pure and applied mathematics courses, created online statistical modules as part of a grant funded by the National Science Foundation, developed a course in Quantitative Reasoning, supervised a senior thesis in Mathematics Education, and collaborated with colleagues to examine how to create streamlined successful mathematics pathways through a Teagle Foundation grant. She is the recipient of NYU’s Mitchell Leaska Dissertation Research Award, NYU’s Graduate Student Organization Outstanding Student Star Award, WCC’s Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, and the 2018 Guttman Provost’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Dr. Sole is also an elected member of two international honor societies: Pi Lambda Theta and Kappa Delta Pi. Her research examines the connection between pedagogical practices and educational policies.