The NARST (National Association for Research in Science Teaching) is committed to creating the next generation of scientists and science teachers. Each year, their Equity and Ethics Committee offers the Jhumki Basu Scholars award to support and nurture promising young scholars from underrepresented groups. The award helps the scholar craft questions, strengthen his/her theoretical framework, and improve his/her research skills.
We are proud to announce that Tam’ra-Kay Francis, a PhD student in the Science Education Doctoral Program and a Graduate Research Assistant for the Educational Advancement Program, is a 2014 recipient of the Jhumki Basu Scholars award.
After describing her research interests, a professor told Tam’ra-Kay that she was “beyond category,” and it is comments like that that reaffirm her purpose. She wants to break out of categories, and she wants to help future students do the same. She said, “There are so many equity issues to address in science education and just knowing that our national organization is committed to social justice research is refreshing. By networking with educators and students who share similar passions and goals, hopefully, I can contribute to the field of developing diversity-centered science curriculum that includes other perspectives and voices.”
Working with the Educational Advancement Program has further reaffirmed Tam’ra-Kay’s goal of teaching science while including social justice issues. She states, “I have witnessed first hand the impact these programs have on these groups of students no matter what age, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Working with the Educational Advancement Program has been not only rewarding but life changing. I get to apply my identity research to not just the STEM majors, but to all students.”
In April 2015, Ms. Francis will present her research at the NARST Annual International Conference in Chicago. Her presentation is titled “Redefining Identity: An Examination of the Attributes and Characteristics of First-Generation, Low-Income and Underrepresented Undergraduate Students in Predicting their STEM Graduate Degrees Aspirations.”
The university is proud of Tam’ra-Kay’s contributions to diversity in STEM education. She is changing the world one science student at a time. She said, “I know I can’t change the entire world, but if we can build bridges of hope for those who have never even dreamed, that would be enough for me.”