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STEM Education

Our research focuses on the use of a personalized “genetics and genealogy” approach to enhance interest in STEM subjects and careers, at the K-12 and undergraduate levels. Studies in this area are focused on the development of informal and formal curricula that are testing the hypothesis that student interest in science can be spurred by study of their own genetic ancestry and genealogy.  These studies make use of the intellectual framework developed by collaborator Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of Harvard in his studies and programs on African Americans in the U.S., hence the use of his project title, “Finding Your Roots.”  At present, these studies comprise development of summer camps, primarily for underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged learners of middle school age, and of personalized genetics and genealogy modules within undergraduate biology classes, primarily at historically black colleges and universities.  At present, these studies are being developed primarily by Elizabeth (Biz) Wright, a former Postdoctoral Fellow in the Jablonski Lab, and by Aditi Pai (Spelman College).  Tess Wilson manages the projects, and collaborators from many institutions and disciplines (including science education) participate.


Related Links: - Finding Your Roots curriculum and WPSU web series The Seedlings

Relevant Publications:

Wright, E. A., Wagner, J. K., Shriver, M. D., Fernandez, J. R., & Jablonski, N. G. (2019). Practical and ethical considerations of using personal DNA tests with middle-school-aged learners. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 104(2), 197-202. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.01.001

Jablonski, N. G., Wright, E. A., Pai, A., & Ogbunu, C. B. (2018). Understanding your roots: STEM diversity and an evidence-based curriculum. Paper presented at the 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, Austin, TX.

Zimmerman, H. T., Weible, J. L., Wright, E. A., Maggiore, C., & Jablonski, N. G. (2018). Youths learning with a genetics and genealogy approach: Scientific and personal engagement in summer camp. Paper presented at the 2018 National Association for Research in Science Teaching Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.