Lashawn McNeil, a second-year doctoral student, received the graduate student presentation prize at the annual Research Association of Minority Professors conference earlier this year in New Orleans. The conference focuses on issues related to STEM, tolerance and social justice.
McNeil’s presentation, “An Exploration in Building Knowledge in Small Group Discussions in Undergraduate Chemistry,” was the result of a study in undergraduate chemistry classrooms at the University of Georgia. McNeil and study co-authors Molly Atkinson, Julie A. Luft and Ana West looked at several student groups to understand how students constructed their knowledge about chemical phenomena. The presentation given by McNeil focused on the role of race and gender, along with students’ perceptions of “smartness” of their peers during discussions.
McNeil is leading the research team in a follow-up study of this topic this spring. This study is part of a larger research project focused on active learning in core undergraduate science classes.