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Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence

Newsletter Summer 2020 Edition

Table of Contents Dr. Bolden Goes to Brookhaven - 3 Getting the Word Out - 4



Annual Conference - 3

Faculty Spotlights - 6

Adapting During COVID-19: Fa About Us


he FL-C LSRCE is a collaborative research-practitioner partnership between Santa Fe College and the University of the Virgin Islands to broaden participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by developing, testing, and disseminating mindset intervention practices that enhance growth mindsets when encountering academic challenges. ​ In conjunction with the Laboratory of Intergroup Relations and the Social Mind at Columbia University and the Learning, Research & Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh, FL-C LSRCE administrators and faculty from several Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) projects, will participate as implementers of the research to practice activities and serve as consultants to the center. The FL-C LSRCE is co-funded by the National Science Foundation and NSF INCLUDES National Network under HRD-1826532.

Developing Mindsets for STEM and Beyond


roadening participation in STEM is a great equalizer to change the socioeconomic trajectories of students, families, and communities. However, not all students share the same academic preparation, support, or mindset to succeed in STEM degree programs. Because of this and recent COVID-19 related disruptions to learning, faculty must be equipped with tools and strategies to develop growth mindsets and promote learning in this new learning environment. The 2nd Annual Mindsets for STEM conference was scheduled to take place July 2020 at the University of the Virgin Islands, but the impact of a global pandemic and social unrest required a change of plans - not just for the FL-C LSRCE, but for institutions, students, and faculty across the globe. Although we were unable to meet at the University of the Virgin Islands, engaging and preparing faculty for a new normal in higher education was our priority. After much planning we were able to offer components of our annual conference virtually through two virtual series. That allowed us to keep safety first, equip faculty with interventions to promote success in STEM, remote learning, and to create opportunities that generate new knowledge.

Adaptive Mindsets and Resilience:

Broadening Participation in STEM at Two-Year Colleges and HBCUs


r. Omid Fotuhi led a transformative training that described the value of self-administered psychological interventions and how to identify psychosocial barriers that can impede STEM success among underrepresented students.

Dr. Omid Fotuhi University of Pittsburgh & Western Governors University Labs

Faculty were provided tools to assess student needs - especially during COVID-19 disruptions and transitions, provide autonomy support, and implement self-administered psychological interventions within their classes.

After the robust discussion related to psychosocial barriers and student needs, Dr. Fotuhi and the FL-C LSRCE team were able to develop a customized student intervention that will be implemented at participating two-year colleges and HBCUs during the 2020-21 academic year. Page 1

aculty Development Continues The FL-C LSRCE developed a summer series titled Developing and Modeling Mindsets for STEM and Beyond that provided nearly 50 faculty from institutions across the country with a suite of interventions to better understand their students and classroom environments, promote growth mindsets, encourage active and reflective learning, and how to give effective feedback. More than just learning how to apply these strategies within classrooms, Dr. Diana Bowen challenged faculty to model these practices and behaviors with the use of technological applications, peer learning, and reflective assignments.


odeling Gr dM ow an t


sets ind

Develo pin

At the conclusion of the three-part series, Certificate of Participation Awarded to faculty participants were invited to put theory into practice by conducting action research with Jane Doe Dr. Diana Bowen and the FL-C LSRCE research team. The Faculty Mindset Ambassador study gives faculty the opportunity to apply and customize teaching strategies learned in the series, and then faculty will participate in scholarly engagement to broadly disseminate their findings. The Faculty Mindset Ambassador Sample certificate awarded to participants. study kicks off this fall.

Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence

for attending the Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence series:



M a n d B eyo


Developing and Modeling Growth Mindsets Training Summer 2020

Dr. Diana Bowen University of the Virgin Islands

Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes

Regional Center of Excellence

Cultural Competency and Inclusion Cultural competence allows educators to be effective with and successfully teach students from different cultures. As higher education is becoming more and more diverse, faculty, staff and administrators must begin to embrace diversity and become culturally competent to challenge their own personal biases and beliefs. The FL-C LSRCE is excited to announce its Cultural Competency and Inclusion virtual series for administrators and faculty in STEM and across disciplines. We are proud to partner with Dr. Miguel Hernandez to offer this series that formally launches on September 17th and extends throughout fall 2020. A randomly selected group of participants will operationalize cultural competency by incorporating culturally responsive practices learned in their classrooms and departments. Visit to learn more about the faculty development trainings or contact the FL-C LSRCE team if you have additional questions.

Dr. Miguel Hernandez University of California Irvine

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2nd Annual Conference

Virtual Series Participants

Information at

Some recent participants from the virtual training series, “Developing Mindsets for STEM and Beyond.�

FL-C LSRCE Partners with Brookhaven National Laboratory for the Visiting Faculty Program


e are pleased to announce that Dr. Sidney Bolden, Jr. was selected as a 2020 Visiting Faculty Participant at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Dr. Bolden is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Bethune-Cookman University, a FL-C LSRCE partner institution. After completing his studies at Florida A&M University and Florida State University, Dr. Bolden accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania. FL-C LSRCE is proud to partner with Brookhaven National Laboratory and excited about Dr. Bolden's summer research opportunity to investigate bio-mimetic light harvesting systems and materials to enhance energy transfer efficiency.

Dr. Sidney Bolden

The Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) is sponsored and managed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce vital to the DOE mission areas.

Bethune-Cookman University

As part of this competitive program, selected faculty collaborate with DOE laboratory research staff on a research experience of mutual interest. Faculty participants may invite up to two students (one of which may be a graduate student) to participate in the research project. Visit the Department of Energy's Office of Science page for additional information on the VFP and contact Jhenai Chandler at for information on how to apply through the FL-C LSRCE. Page 3

Getting the Word Out Dissemination of FL-C LSRCE Findings The Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence team has worked diligently to buildout customized psychosocial interventions that are student and faculty focused using Mindset theory. Using data from Year 1, the team’s proposals to three national conferences were accepted.

A paper proposal was accepted for The Diversity Challenge through Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture (ISPRC) at Boston College; entitled “Building It Custom: Psychosocial Interventions to Navigate the -ISMs of Higher Education and STEM Inclusion of URMs.” This presentation interrogates how a departure from cookie cutter interventions and using the voices of students and faculty, institutional factors and the intersectionality of student populations, improves strategies and outcomes for psychosocial interventions increasing student academic persistence, sense of belonging, and STEM identity. We will the role of partnerships, our customized interventions, and how they help students negotiate the -isms that bar STEM inclusion. Two faculty partners will host expert groups using our six characteristics of institutional diversity to build with attendees customized interventions for their institution with a report out to the larger group.

A second paper accepted by the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at The University of Illinois; entitled “Customizing Mindset Interventions to Navigate the -ISMs of Higher Education: Intersectionality as an Institutional Variable”. This paper presentation focuses on the various levels of diversity among partnering institutions and targeting students’ needs within the contexts/settings of each school. Using evaluation data derived from student and faculty voice, and the intersectionality of student populations and institutional factors; the FL-C LSRCE Center creates empirical strategies and Mindset interventions to increase student academic persistence, sense of belonging, and STEM identity. The critical role of formative evaluation data in the development of customized interventions for partnering institutions will be explored.

Our final proposal was submitted to Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Entitled “Power Up: Equipping Faculty to Develop Mindsets for STEM Success at Community Colleges and HBCUs,” this proposal cross-examines how partnerships with diverse institutions, STEM faculty, and social psychologists expansion beyond standardized student intervention and faculty professional development. FL-C LSRCE presenters will leverage faculty partners from a community college and HBCU, to host working groups to engage in intervention customization using six characteristics of institutional diversity:1) College status (community, HBCUs, or HSIs); 2) serving rural or urban communities, 3) non-traditional vs. traditional learners, 4) community college vs. university, and 5) public vs. private institutions. This process will allow participants to unpack the institutional and student factors considered when building a better path for the inclusion of all students.

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Getting the Word Out on Social Media FL-C LSRCE Director participates in NSF Live Twitter Chat

Our growing Twitter following and activity led to our center’s Director, Jhenai Chandler (MrsJChand), being invited to participate in a live National Science Foundation and NSF INCLUDES live Twitter chat on “Engaging Student Voice” in May with several other prominant voices in the STEM education field.

IN OTHER NEWS FL-C LSRCE Partner Honored by Tallahassee Community College

FL-C LSRCE Advisory Board Member Receives Presidential Award


r. Overtoun Jenda serves as Assistant Provost for Special Projects and Initiatives and Professor of Mathematics at Auburn University. Anthony Jones Dr. Overtoun Jenda He is also a committed FL-C LSRCE adviTallahassee Community College Auburn University sor who established the strong partnerr. Anthony Jones is the Dean for the ship we have with institutions in the Greater Alabama Black Division of Mathematics and Science, Belt Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and was selected as one of 13 where he serves as a principal investigator. Dr. Jenda’s honorees in the 2020 Cherry Hall Alexander commitment to mentoring in STEM was recently honored with African-American History Calendar. The calthe Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, endar showcases African-American achievers Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). This who have made significant contributions to award recognizes individuals and organizations who display Leon and surrounding counties. Our success- exemplary mentoring of groups historically underrepresented ful partnership with Tallahassee Community in STEM, and is administered by the National Science FounCollege is attributed to Mr. Jones’ support and dation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and belief in the FL-C LSRCE’s work. CongratulaTechnology Policy. Read more at to Mr. Jones on this tremendous honor. ognition.

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Faculty Spotlights We would like to thank our advisory board, participating faculty and liaisons, partner institutions (Alabama State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Tallahassee Community College, Tuskegee University, Valencia College), leaders from the Central Florida, Florida-Georgia, and Greater Alabama Black Belt Region LSAMPs. * This section is not inclusive of all faculty partners and liaisons.

Carving a Path for Others – Ross Brooks


oss Brooks is our Tallahassee Community College faculty liaison. Originally from Bonifay, Florida, he attended Florida State University in Tallahassee. As a community college graduate, Ross brings a unique perspective to the FL-C LSRCE, the only Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence that is led by a state community college. After attending Chipola College (formerly Chipola Junior College) Mr. Brooks developed a desire to teach at a two-year college. Currently, a professor of statistics, Ross’ area of interest is statistical inference using simulation and active learning. Ross successfully converted a traditional face-to-face section of Introduction of Statistics to a hybrid course mid-term, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, without a roadmap for guidance. He has continued to incorporate and tweak Mindset strategies through the many pandemic-related pivots. Ross happily reports his statistics students have positively responded to his active A. Ross Brooks learning efforts – where they use Zoom breakout rooms and Minitab to actively Tallahassee Community College engage with data sets. According to Ross, “Students seem to enjoy this as they are consistently attending online each week, scoring above-average on assessments, and seem to have a better comprehension of our ideas after interacting with one another on these projects.” He explains that, “I love seeing students grow academically and personally each semester.” When he is not teaching, Ross enjoys playing guitar and taking trips to Disney World with his family.

Shooting to the Stars – Dr. Brian Lee


r. Brian Lee is a FL-C LSRCE faculty liaison and Astronomy and Physics instructor at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Lee wanted to be an architect in high school but found that physics and astronomy were fascinating fields that allowed him to exercise special visualization and mathematical skills in a completely different way.

He explains, “By the time I entered graduate studies, I decided I was most excited by the chance to join a new field of research - searching for planets around Dr. Brian Lee other stars.” Dr. Lee earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where his Santa Fe College research focused on extrasolar planets. Dr. Lee explains why this research is so important, “Only 30 years ago, scientists did not know whether planets existed around any stars other than our own sun. But today, by searching for rocky planets with the right temperature to harbor liquid water, we are laying the groundwork to answer one of humanity’s deepest questions: “Can earth-like life exist elsewhere in the universe?” By studying planets in other solar systems, we gain a better appreciation not just for the wonders of outer space, but also for our own planet earth.” He says that the best part of teaching at Santa Fe College is “helping students learn the skills and knowledge that allow us to appreciate both the complexity and simplicity of nature.” When he is not envisioning the solar system, he enjoys weekly ballroom dance classes with his wife. Page 6

Faculty Spotlights Mentoring in STEM Dr. Danyell Wilson-Howard


r. Danyell Wilson-Howard is a Chemistry Professor and faculty liaison at BethuneCookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, she attended Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania and later, the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville. Wilson-Howard is an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) travel award and post-doc recipient, an honored keynote to 500 high schoolers serving as a Scientist for the Scientist-Citizen Program as part of AACR. Dr. Wilson-Howard’s research areas are cancer health disparities among minority and rural communities and effective STEM education strategies. Her commitment to cancer research for these com- Dr. Danyell Wilson-Howard munities is “translating Bethune-Cookman University what we know in the lab and cancer prevention to communities who do not have access to this information …[which] helps with informed decision-making about healthy behaviors, including obtaining the proper cancer screenings, eating habits, and increased physical activity.” She gives credit to faculty members, science mentors and administrators for her interest in STEM education and trainings. She believes, “We are all capable of doing great things related to our field of study … But without a guidance book, it takes those who support you and have been where you’re going to provide directions to how to navigate life.” Dr. Wilson-Howard’s free time is consumed by her research labs at Bethune-Cookman University and at the UF’s STEM Translational Communication Center (STCC). Her research with the STCC incorporates technology into health decision-making among underserved communities and enhances science communication.

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Training New Scientists Dr. Vasudha Sharma


r. Vasudha Sharma is a professor of Chemistry at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. She was born and raised in India and completed her doctorate at Michigan State University. Her post-doctoral research focused on combating chemoresistance in cancer cells. She explains, “I worked on synthesis of labeled molecules to understand the biosynthesis of an anticancer compound - azinomycin A and B - and then further in the drug discovery group at Moffitt Cancer Center pursuing chemotherapy drug development from bench to bedside.”

After over a decade in cancer research, Dr. Sharma realized something was missing - teaching and preparing the next generation of scientists. Dr. Sharma soon joined the Valencia College faculty where she introduces research to Dr. Vasudha Sharma students through experential Valencia College learning through internships, the honors program, and research embedded in her undergraduate courses. Dr. Sharma explains that what she loves most about her career is, “the interactions with students and the reflections on how to make a concept better” for her students. She was awarded the American Chemical Society Orlando Section’s 2017 Outstanding Two-Year College Teacher Award and has publications in scholarly journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Organic Letters and Bioorganic Chemistry. When she is not teaching, Dr. Sharma enjoys painting and says, “In teaching, one size does not fit all and strategies that worked 2-3 years ago or even in a spring term may not work during summer. The challenge is to get the pulse of your class … early enough to modulate the assessments through the term. I enjoy the process of learning how students are learning.”

Meet the FL-C LSRCE Team


he critical work of the The Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes Regional Center for Excellence (FL-C LSRCE) is done in partnership with Santa Fe College and the University of the Virgin Islands to broaden participation in STEM through the implementation and development of psychosocial interventions focused on growth mindsets. Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Stefanie Waschull and Dr. Camille McKayle are leading the way in customized interventions with our six partnering institutions. This FL-C LSRCE team brings a passion for STEM education innovation, and relevant previous experience in research and direct service to pursue STEM success for all students. Dr. Stefanie Waschull is the Principal Investigator and the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. Her work as a psychologist and educator has led to greater understanding of student success in the traditional and online environments. Dr. Waschull leads critical work at Santa Fe addressing textbook affordability, community college to university pathways, and articulation policies. Dr. Camille McKayle is the Co-Principal Investigator and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of the Virgin Islands. She is a committed STEM educator in mathematics and continues to innovate in student preparation and inclusion in STEM. Dr. McKayle has led various research efforts and served as both principal investigator or co-principal investigator on numerous grant projects focused on broadening participation in STEM.

As Director, Jhenai Chandler is responsible for implementing grant activities, budget management, and working with FL-C LSRCE partner institutions. Jhenai’s previous work experience includes academic and student affairs in both the Florida college and university systems. At the University of the Virgin Islands, Co-Director Dr. Lawanda Cummings was hired in May 2019. She is also the Director of Education Research for the Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR) grant and a contributor to the Education Doctoral program. Lawanda supervises multiple projects focused on developing a strong STEM workforce in the U.S. Virgin Islands through teacher professional development, facilitating STEM identity development at the K12 and undergraduate levels, innovating curriculum through culturally relevant practices and technological integration, and facilitating critical partnerships for program sustainability. Ada Lang serves as the FL-C LSRCE’s Program Assistant providing assistance with graphic design and communications. She graduated from Santa Fe College with an Associate’s degree in Graphic Design Technology.

Our Partner Institutions Alabama State University l Bethune-Cookman University Tallahassee Community College l Tuskegee University l Valencia College Page 8

Florida-Caribbean Louis Stokes

Regional Center of Excellence

Connect with Us @FLC_LSRCE @FLCLSRCE

Newsletter Summer 2020  

Newsletter Summer 2020  

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