Lisette E. Torres-Gerald
LSAMP Team Member at Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2012-present
Adjunct Instructor of Biology at Nebraska Wesleyan University, 2012-2015
Ph.D. Education with Certificate in Social Justice, Iowa State University, Fall 2016
M.S. Zoology with Certificate in Ecology, Miami University, 2005
B.A. Earth & Environmental Science and Religion Studies, Lehigh University, 2003
As a trained scientist and social justice educator, I believe that it is my obligation to model a life of praxis (theory-informed practice) for my students by engaging in reflexivity and by being an honest, compassionate, and respectful person. Through student-centered teaching, I try to empower students to question the status quo, to advocate for themselves and their communities, and to learn how to “read the world” (Freire, 1968). I understand that students are not empty vessels for me to cram information into; rather, I value and try to utilize their multiple ways of knowing and being to create an open space for the co-construction of knowledge. This approach requires students to take responsibility for their own learning, apply their own perspectives and personal experiences to concepts discussed, build a supportive learning community, and take leadership roles in designing and directing the course.
My ultimate goal is to inspire students to learn about themselves and to engage in positive social transformation, using science as one of many tools for change. I want to help students appreciate the complexity of the sociology of science, to develop their writing skills, to see social justice as a vital component of scientific inquiry, and to begin to see themselves as agents of social change. Thus, my focus is on social action and I am driven by the following questions: How can my students use their scientific knowledge to better humanity and to advocate for their communities? How can they honorably work in and with communities to address pressing scientific and social concerns?
IDS 1010 Archway Seminar (Section 27): Science for the People – Communication, Engagement, and Activism in Science