GSE Receives Science Education Award for Focus on Females, Minorities

Posted: February 23, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

The Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) science education program has received a “Programs that Work” award from the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition for its preservice teacher education program. The award, to be presented on March 23, recognizes GSE’s work on gender equity and multicultural education in science methods courses for middle and secondary education.

“One of GSE’s goals is to promote diversity and equity,” says Donna Sterling, who directs the science education program. “We’ve run this theme through all our courses–it’s a thread that underlies what we do.”

Part of the process is making people aware of who scientists are and what they do, says Sterling, and female and minority scientists are part of the equation. When asked to name all the female scientists they’ve heard of, most students inevitably come up with only one–Marie Curie. The list is even more sparse for minority scientists–many students cannot name even one.

Once they become familiar with what scientists are really like and what they do, students are better able to create science lessons that address the needs of all children and have them doing things scientists really do, says Sterling.

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