Summer 2019: From the Editors

For the Summer 2019 issue, we are pleased to provide a new journal feature—a collection of short books reviews to stimulate your reading. The books reviewed in this issue include a cultural history of infectious microorganisms, a chronicle of wolf ecology in Yellowstone National Park, a summary of the cognitive processes involved in learning, a revolutionary proposal for a new type of higher education in the 21st Century, and a nuanced examination of human heredity. These book reviews will become a regular feature in the summer issue of the journal, so we welcome contributions from eager readers for Summer 2020! 

We are also excited to share two project reports that provide inspiring examples of science education and civic engagement. 

A diverse team of faculty members and students from Longwood University describes the LIFE STEM Program, which provides low-income students with an intentional and supportive transition to the study of science in college. As described by lead author Michelle Parry, first-year students use the Chesapeake Bay as both a natural laboratory and a contested civic space. In addition to linking the Bay to students’ coursework and research projects, LIFE STEM also focuses on cultivating students’ sense of belonging in an academic community, developing their professional identity as scientists, and promoting their self-efficacy. Preliminary data suggest a positive impact of the project on the retention of STEM students and the development of their skills in research and communication. 

The second project report describes an interdisciplinary collaboration at New York City College of Technology, with contributions from Liana Tsenova, Urmi Ghosh-Dastidar, Arnavaz Taraporevala, Aionga Sonya Pereira, and Pamela Brown. Students enrolled in a microbiology course and a statistics course worked together to examined the growing problem of healthcare-associated infections by antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. Using authentic data from 15 Brooklyn hospitals, students performed statistical tests to examine variation in antibiotic resistance among different bacterial species. Students then learned about methods to reduce hospital-based infections and developed informational flyers for public distribution. As an outcome of this project, students make meaningful connections between scientific knowledge and civic action.

We wish to thank all the book reviewers and manuscript authors for sharing their scholarly work with the readers of this journal.

Matt Fisher and Trace Jordan

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