Current Lecture

STEM Scholars Lecture

Kelly McDonald, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
California State University, Sacramento

(Click on image for parking info) 

Thursday, March 7th
6:00 – 7:00 pm
University Union, Redwood Room


Associate Professor Kelly McDonald will deliver the spring 2019 STEM Scholars Lecture. Her talk, titled “Getting ‘SIRIUS’ With STEM Education Reform,” will address national efforts to reform undergraduate STEM education.

Pressing societal issues like human health, energy sustainability and environmental change require a diverse workforce trained to solve complex, real-world problems. Current educational models often consist of fragmented learning experiences, taught as discipline-specific knowledge that lacks relevancy beyond course borders. To create this future workforce, Dr. Kelly McDonald and her colleagues created the Sustainable Interdisciplinary Research to Inspire Undergraduate Success (SIRIUS) Project. The overarching goal of the SIRIUS project is to provide all STEM students with an opportunity to study a local and relevant problem - human impacts on the American River Ecosystem.

Dr. McDonald will detail how the SIRIUS program is advancing undergraduate STEM education reform efforts. The talk will further include a) a discussion of strategies used to build a shared vision around the health of the local waterways, b) a presentation of data collected from student and faculty participants and c) a preview of future directions for the SIRIUS Project.

Speaker Bio

Dr. McDonald, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and the Director of the Center for Science and Math Success at Sacramento State, obtained her BS and Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is a Principal Investigator on the SIRUS Project in its 5th year with funding from Sacramento State and CSUPERB, the National Science Foundation and the W.M. Keck Foundation. Dr. McDonald serves on a number of university and national advisory boards focused on STEM teaching and learning and was recently named a PULSE Ambassador to support life sciences departments across the US as they undergo curricular and pedagogical changes aligned with national calls for undergraduate biology education reform.