Macmillan Learning has sponsored travel awards for faculty and future faculty to attend a 2017 Regional Summer Institute on Scientific Teaching. Two $500 scholarships were awarded per regional site to help defray costs related to attending a Summer Institute. The travel award recipients are current or future STEM faculty at universities or colleges who applied for the award as part of their application to the Summer Institute. They were selected by the leaders of the six regional Summer Institutes based on their commitment to excellence in evidence-based teaching practices, need, and commitment to sharing what was learned at the Summer Institute with their home department or institution. 

We are proud to present the recipients of the 2017 Macmillan Travel Award:

California Summer Institute
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Brian E. Dalton

Dr. Dalton is a lecturer in Biology in Western State Colorado University’s department of Natural and Environmental Sciences. Of all the topics he teaches in his classes, he especially enjoys teaching speciation, because it integrates evolutionary biology with all levels of the life sciences, from molecular to ecological. From flamboyant courtship displays to human effects on reproductive isolation, he and his students explore the details of evolution. At the California Summer Institute, Dr. Dalton plans to learn varied active learning techniques, refine the course objectives for his classes, and develop assessments that evaluate higher-level thinking and analysis skills.

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Ivy Fortmeyer


Dr. Fortmeyer is an assistant professor of Chemistry at Rocky Mountain College in Montana. In her introductory general chemistry classes, it can be challenging to guide students not only to learn the material, but also to enjoy or appreciate it. Dr. Fortmeyer plans to approach this challenge by shifting the focus away from herself as a lecturer and onto the students as active learners. At the California Summer Institute, she looks forward to learning techniques to do this in ways that best suit her students’ needs. In her classes, she can use those tools to help students see the excitement she sees in topics like acid-base chemistry – the grand finale of general chemistry, where several previous concepts come together and where the color changes in lab are the most dramatic.

Gulf Coast Summer Institute
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Carol Cleveland

Dr. Cleveland is an instructor in Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Division of Natural Sciences, teaching general biology, microbiology, and anatomy and physiology. She especially enjoys teaching evolution, because of all the misconceptions that students bring to the topic. She uses examples that students can relate to in her explanations, and often sees an opening of minds about the topic among her students as they engage in the learning process. At the Gulf Coast Summer Institute, she looks forward to investigating active learning techniques relevant to students who have different attitudes toward books and learning. She also looks forward to other instructors’ insights about what techniques best reach students in their own classrooms.

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Shoshana Katzman


Dr. Katzman, assistant professor of biology at Georgia Gwinnett College, plans to use what she learns at the Gulf Coast Summer Institute to generate an engaged classroom and a collaborative environment among students. Dr. Katzman enjoys teaching protein translation, where the complexity of the topic invites lots of student questions and collaboration, and she hopes to use the active learning strategies and innovative instructional materials from the Summer Institute to extend that collaboration throughout her courses. As a new full-time faculty member in the biological sciences, Dr. Katzman also looks forward to working with other STEM instructors at the Summer Institute.

Midwest Summer Institute
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Breonna Martin

As a lecturer in biology at Mercer University, Ms. Martin has found that her students become invested in problems that allow them to apply their understanding of cell biology to physiology and human diseases such as cancer. She recognizes that many students have been affected by, or know someone who has had experience with cancer and other diseases, and they are often eager to gain a deeper understanding of the related processes. Over the past two years, Ms. Martin has added elements to her courses to help students strengthen their metacognitive skills. For instance, her lab students have written reflections on the experiments they designed and carried out. At the Midwest Summer Institute, Ms. Martin hopes to learn methods that help students see this kind of reflection as valuable, and to add to her knowledge of active learning techniques in order to continue helping her students become lifelong learners.

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Ritu Gurung

Dr. Gurung is an assistant professor of chemistry at St. Ambrose University, teaching chemistry and biochemistry. Her interest in chemistry began with the periodic table of elements and the way it helped predict the reactions likely for elements, explaining the complexity of the world in a logical manner. She became interested in biochemistry after the sudden death of her graduate school advisor from metastatic cancer. The questions she had about the physical and chemical changes caused by cancer drove her interest in teaching about metabolic pathways, regulation mechanisms, and the biological mechanisms that form the conceptual background to cancer metastasis. Dr. Gurung strives to teach her students in a way that they can understand foundational concepts and apply them to new problems while engaging the broad range of students who take her introductory chemistry and biochemistry classes. At the Midwest Summer Institute, she hopes to learn techniques that involve a wide variety of students in these subjects.

Northeast Summer Institute
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Cesar Valverde


Dr. Valverde is an assistant professor of Mathematics at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. By connecting different areas of mathematics in his classes, he aims to give his students a glimpse of what mathematicians do. At the Northeast Summer Institute, Dr. Valverde anticipates learning new techniques to further his teaching goals of engaging students in active learning, creating mental contexts for material learned, implementing applications and modeling in the classroom, and acting as a mentor for his students.

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Crystal Saunders


Crystal Saunders is one of the lead faculty in Fine Arts and the Sciences at Roanoke Chowan Community College in North Carolina. For her, the Northeast Summer Institute provides an opportunity to meet with other educators and find out new ways to increase student engagement in the classroom. Dr. Saunders is always looking for new ways to get students involved in STEM programs. For example, she especially enjoys teaching about the skeletal system, because her students find out that they are walking around with their lab assignment each day!

Northwest Summer Institute
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Kamal Dulai


As a lecturer in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Merced, Dr.Dulai especially enjoys exploring gene regulation with his students. For him, it's a clear example of the complexity and beauty of nature. Once his students understand this topic, he finds that they too appreciate the complexity and beauty of how life works. Dr. Dulai comes to the Northwest Summer institute with three years of experience implementing  active learning modules in his classes. He  is keen to learn more about the research and methods that can best support his students. He envisions sharing knowledge from the SI with colleagues in his department to discuss possible reform efforts in the biology curriculum and improvements in lecture and laboratory classes.

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Ryan Rybarczyk


Dr. Rybarczyk is a visiting assistant professor in Computer and Information Science at the University of Indiana – Purdue University Indianapolis. He looks forward to the Northwest Summer Institute as an opportunity to collect insights about effective teaching strategies in STEM subjects. Dr. Rybarczyk values the exchange of ideas as part of the process of improving teaching, and is eager to discuss them with both his Summer Institute team and his university colleagues. He enjoys teaching the wide variety of students who take his larger courses, and is committed to teaching in ways that improve their learning.

Northstar Summer Institute
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Megan Heyman

Teaching statistics at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology reminds Megan Heyman, assistant professor of Mathematics, of a quote by John Tukey: “The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.” Dr. Heyman enjoys being able to teach students across many STEM disciplines how to explore, visualize, and analyze the data they collect. For her, the Northstar Summer Institute is the perfect venue to explore how to make such  connections between statistics, engineering, and other STEM areas engaging for her students. She is also interested in learning about more active learning techniques and relevant assessment strategies at the Summer Institute.

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Marcos E. García-Ojeda

Dr. García-Ojeda is an associate teaching professor in molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Merced. He enjoys the way that microbiology brings together many branches of biology for his students, such as the evolution of microorganisms, cellular and molecular aspects of microbial cells, and microbes’ interaction with other organisms in health and disease. As a professor in a fast-growing major, with many first-generation college students, Dr. García-Ojeda believes it is imperative to design courses in a student-centered way. By learning new active learning techniques at the Northstar Summer Institute and sharing them with his fellow faculty members, Dr. García-Ojeda hopes to create courses where more students understand connections like those that can be made within microbiology.