I am a PhD student with a major in the University of Arizona's School of Geography & Development (SGD)and a minor in Teaching & Teacher Education through the UA’s College of Education. My ongoing graduate research project asks how the common academic spaces (classrooms, labs, instructors’ offices, and advisors’ offices) encountered by most university students who major in bioscience welcome and support LGBTQ+ students. To that end, I interview LGBTQ+ bioscience students and alumni, both in one-on-one settings and in small focus groups, to understand how their identities are developed, reinforced, changed, or stigmatized in those places; how they respond to and cope with stressors as students who share LGBTQ+ and bioscience identities; and what we can learn about minority stress from LGBTQ+ students’ experiences, both positive and negative, in the spaces of bioscience education. You can also check out my profile on the SGD website.
In the fall and winter of 2018, I interviewed and conducted focus groups with undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni of University of Arizona bioscience programs. I’m working through the data generated by those interviews and groups with an eye on analyzing and publishing my results (and making them a part of my dissertation, of course).
I have my eye on the next step, too, which will be a much wider national survey that draws on the literature and on my results from the interviews to suggest broader hypotheses about LGBTQ+ students in bioscience education. Stay tuned!
Most Recent Work
The research question that guides this project—How do four common university bioscience learning places (classrooms, labs, instructors’ offices, and advisors’ offices) welcome and support LGBTQ+ students?—is divided into three questions below. This project hypothesizes that students can develop and reinforce their identities differently in those different spaces. Each of these lends itself to the methods and analyses of the project and provides a way to explore the lead question in depth.
First, how are LGBTQ+ students’ identities as LGBTQ+ students of bioscience developed, reinforced, changed, or stigmatized in those places? Second, how do LGBTQ+ bioscience students respond to and cope with stressors as students who share LGBTQ+ and bioscience identities? Third, what can be learned about minority stress from LGBTQ+ students’ experiences, both positive and negative, in the spaces of bioscience education?
The first and second questions are centered on LGBTQ+ students’ identities, and the shift in identities that occurs as they progress in their studies and that, according to Sfard & Prusak’s (2005) definition of identity, represents the learning process. The third question, which is also related to students’ identities, explicitly considers what the literature suggests about LGBTQ+ students’ experiences and asks participants to take part in a forum to generate both data for the project and salient suggestions for welcoming LGBTQ+ identities in university bioscience.
Sfard, A., & Prusak, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational Researcher, 34(4), 14-22.
I’m also involved (pretty minimally these days) with the Barron-Gafford Research Group, an interdisciplinary group of ecologists, biogeographers, environmental scientists, and more. As a part of that group I’ve been a part of the following.
Barron-Gafford, G., Sanchez-Cañete, E.P., Minor, R., Hendryx, S., Lee, E., Sutter, L., Parra, E., Colella, T., Murphy, P., Hamerlynck, E., Kumar, P., Scott, R. "Impacts of hydraulic redistribution on leaf and ecosystem carbon fluxes in a semiarid savanna: an assessment of competition versus facilitation." New Phytologist. Accepted 05/2017. DOI:10.1111/nph.14693
Kumar, P., Lee, E., Barron-Gafford, G., Hendryx, S., Sanchez-Cañete, E.P., Minor, R., Colella, T., Scott, R. "Impact of hydraulic redistribution on multispecies vegetation water use in a semi-arid savanna ecosystem: An experimental and modeling synthesis." Forthcoming in Water Resources Research (05/2018).
Minor, J., Colella, T., Barnes, M., Mann, S., Murphy, P., Pearl, J., and Barron-Gafford, G. "Biogeography and Critical Zone Science in the Anthropocene." 8th Biennial Conference of the International Biogeography Society. January 9-13, 2017, Tucson, AZ.
Barron-Gafford, G., Minor, R.L., Hendryx, S., Lee, E., Sutter, L., Colella, T., Murphy, P., Sanchez-Canete, E.P., Hamerlynck, E.P, Kumar, P., and Scott, R.L. “Impacts of hydraulic redistribution on overstory-understory interactions in a semiarid savanna.” Annual Conference of the American Geophysical Union. December 12-16, 2016, San Francisco, CA.
Lee, E., Kumar, P., Barron-Gafford, G., Scott, R.L., Hendryx, S.M., Sanchez-Canete, E.P., Minor, R.L., and Colella, T. "Impact of hydraulic redistribution on multispecies vegetation water use in a semi‐arid ecosystem: An experimental and modeling synthesis." Annual Conference of the American Geophysical Union. December 11-15, 2016, New Orleans, LA.
Colella, T., Mann, S., Murphy, P., Barron-Gafford, G., Minor, J., Pearl, J., and Barnes, M. “Critical Zone Science in the Anthropocene: Opportunities for Biogeography.” Symposium on Physical Geography: Challenges of the ‘Anthopocene.’ Annual Conference of the Association of American Geographers. March 29-April 2, 2016, San Francisco, CA.