SICB Annual Meeting 2021
January 3-7, 2021
Washington, DC

Symposium: S4. Biology Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning through Authentic Research, Design & Community Engagement

This symposium brings together speakers who showcase innovative approaches for engaging undergraduate students in experiential science learning experiences. Specifically, we focus on three high-impact practices that allow students to take their learning outside of the classroom for increased relevance and authenticity: 1) Course-Based Undergraduate Research (CUREs), 2) Digital Fabrication in Makerspaces, and 3) Service or Community-based Learning Opportunities. Although each topic is unique, all provide an alternative approach to the traditional lecture and have proven effective at appealing to diverse groups of students who are traditionally underrepresented in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. Speakers from a wide range of institutions will share pedagogical best practices as well as current research investigating the efficacy of their approach for enhancing student learning and success.



  • Alexandria Hansen
  • Lisa Whitenack
  • Patrice Connors
  • Hayley Lanier
  • Robert Full


S4-1 Tue Jan 5, 10:30 Hansen, AK: Introduction to the symposium: biology beyond the classroom

S4-2 Tue Jan 5, 10:45 Lent, DD*; Hansen, AK: Making interdisciplinary learning continuous across education

S4-3 Tue Jan 5, 11:00 Full, RJ*; Estrada, M; Watson, L; Bhatti, HA: i4’s toward tomorrow program: Bioinspired design realized by creativity, collaboration, and connection

S4-4 Tue Jan 5, 11:15 Bhatti, HA*; Ruopp, R; McPherson, A; Full, RJ: Early technology-based intervention promotes self-efficacy in a bioinspired design course

S4-5 Tue Jan 5, 11:30 Staab, KL: Implementing fabrication as a pedagogical tool in vertebrate anatomy courses: motivation, lessons, and outcomes

S4-6 Tue Jan 5, 11:45 Takara, C*; Hu, A; Sathish, T; Takara, E; Tejada, I; Medina-Sanchez, P; Chavez-Melendez, J; Chappell, C; Haile, M; Chappell, C: BioJam Camp, bioexplorations driven by community connections

S4-7 Tue Jan 5, 14:00 Hove, AA*; Ward, JR; Hiatt, AL; Ventura, L; Neufeld, HS; Boyd, AE; Clarke, HD; Murrell, ZE: Authentic research in the undergraduate classroom increases knowledge and appreciation for plants

S4-8 Tue Jan 5, 14:15 Zavaleta, E*; Beltran, R; Race, A: How and why does a field course close demographic gaps in EEB?

S4-9 Tue Jan 5, 14:30 Whitenack, LB*; French, LB; Hersh, BM; Nelson, MK; Thu, YM: FSBio 201: A CURE-based course that scaffolds research and scientific communication

S4-10 Tue Jan 5, 14:45 Beatty, AE*; Ballen, CJ; Driessen , EP; Graze, RM; Schwartz, TS: Skill-building in a molecular biology CURE: A delicate balance of structure and student independence

S4-11 Tue Jan 5, 15:00 Hernandez, T; Donnelly-Hermosillo, D*; Person, E; Hansen, A: Using zoos as a context to teach authentic research: reflections from first and second experience students taking introductory chemistry

S4-12 Tue Jan 5, 15:15 Lanier, HC*; Connors, PK; Varner, J; Dizney, L; Duggan, JM; Erb, LP; Yahnke, CJ; Hanson, JD: Connected while distant: Networking CUREs across classrooms to create community and inspire students

S4-13 Tue Jan 5, 16:00 Tucker, KP*; Glaser, RL; Marx, M; Kniss, A; Moran, CE: Interdisciplinary collaboration in undergraduate service-learning

S4-14 Tue Jan 5, 16:15 Nation, JM*; Hansen, AK: Students’ experiences in community STEM programs

S4-15 Tue Jan 5, 16:30 Yep, A*; Nation, JM: Nuestra ciencia is our science: microbiology lessons for all

S4-16 Tue Jan 5, 16:45 Childress, MJ*; Tallapragada, M; Prosser, KL: Something Very Fishy: An ocean literacy STEAM exhibit impacts how children, teachers, and university students think about science

S4-17 Tue Jan 5, 17:00 Katti, M*; Mulvey, K L; Caslin, M; Joy, A; Orcutt, D; Eseryel, D: Forests after Florence: a model to engage disaster-impacted students in informal learning through relevant field research

S4-18 Tue Jan 5, 17:15 Merrill, AN*; Hirzel, GE; Westerman, E: Using citizen science to assess the effect of wing pattern and weather on butterfly behavior

Associated TAL-X Workshop: BioMaking for Community

In a time of intense & fearful focus on the microbial world, how might we create opportunities for positive, playful, and hands-on explorations with our microscopic environment?

The “BioMaking for Community” workshop will highlight creative community outreach projects at the intersection of biology and sustainable engineering. The primary workshop facilitators will be teenage, aspiring scientists who participated as mentors in the BioJam outreach program associated with the Shiriam Center for Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. This outreach program introduces local youth to the principles of bioengineering and biomaterial design, with a focus on incorporating cultural contexts and designing accessible projects for community engagement. During the SICB 2021 workshop, attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the BioJam program’s model and engage in a project designed by BioJam teen mentors. The teens will invite workshop participants to engage in a biomaking creative crafting project that they previously facilitated for their communities. Specifically, workshop attendees will use pre-grown and dried bacterial cellulose to imagine a future of fashion using laser cut paper figures that they can dress (see Figure 1). By blending the familiar with the foreign, this project highlights bacteria and microbes as positive collaborators in a future based on sustainable design.