We are a community of students, pre-college teachers, university and college instructors, and scientific professionals committed to making the sciences more inclusive and more representative of our own wonderful diverse communities.

Our Scientist Spotlights Initiative aims to promote diversity and inclusion in science – middle school through college – through development, assessment, and dissemination of curriculum supplements that bring science role models to students in the context of learning science content.

Scientist Spotlights are most often built by college and university students – in particular students of color, first-generation college-going students, and LGBTQ+ students – in the context of their own undergraduate studies in service-learning courses. This development process assures that the scientists highlighted are most likely to connect and resonate with other undergraduate students and younger pre-college students.

Scientist Spotlights were invented by Professor Jeffrey Schinske to provide representations of scientists besides himself and from a greater diversity of personal backgrounds than his own for the wonderful students in his community college biology courses. The original studies on Scientists Spotlights were published in 2015 and 2016. A growing body of research has revealed dramatic and positive effects of the addition of these simple assignments to biology courses.

While the Scientist Spotlights Initiative is co-led by Professor Jeff Schinske of Foothill College and Professor Kimberly Tanner of the Science Education Partnership & Assessment Laboratory of San Francisco State University, the effort reflects the intellectual and creative work of a large community of biology students, pre-college teachers, university and college instructors, and scientific professionals, as well as informal science education partners, including the California Academy of Sciences, Story Collider, and Science Friday.

The Scientist Spotlights Initiative is graciously funded by the SEPA – Science Education Partnership Award – Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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