Dr. April Hill, professor and chair of Biology at the University of Richmond, will deliver a plenary address at the 2016 SENCER Summer Institute, titled “SENCER, Transforming STEM for Majors, and It’s About Time, Too.” The address will focus on how April works to transform the STEM experience for students with integrated, interdisciplinary, and inclusive courses that focus on real-world problems, authentic research, and research-based pedagogies. April uses these methods to enhance courses for first-year students as well as science majors. This year’s Institute will be held at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois July 28 – August 1, 2016.
April is a recipient of the 2016 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. She is director of University of Richmond’s HHMI-funded Undergraduate Science Education (URISE) program that focuses on building community support and research skills for incoming students who are from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. She guided the development of, and teaches in, the interdisciplinary first-year research-centered STEM courses (Integrated Quantitative Science and Science, Math, and Research Training) that focus on real world problems like climate change, antibiotic resistance, and HIV. She also teaches in a Sophomore Scholars in Residence Living and Learning Program where students explore how the world’s oceans shaped human experience through the course Out of the Sea. She is committed to social justice and uses her voice as a biologist in discussions of race at Richmond through involvement in a faculty learning community (Terms of Racial Justice). April is a PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education) Leadership Fellow and works with the Southeast Regional PULSE to help life science departments reform undergraduate curricula around the principles of Vision and Change.
As an evolutionary developmental geneticist, she enjoys working on interdisciplinary research collaborations. She is passionate about undergraduate research and has advised more than 70 students in her laboratory over the past 15 years and many more students through authentic research experiences in a variety of biology courses (e.g., Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Genetics, Epigenetics, and Genomics). Her current research uses marine and freshwater sponges as model systems to ask questions about the gene regulatory networks important in the development of animal body plans and animal symbioses. This collaborative research is currently funded by the NSF Integrative Organismal Systems Program.
You can still register to participate in the SENCER Summer Institute and attend April Hill’s talk.