Integrate Teaching and Research
By Barbara Spector
While pursuing her Ph.D. in
physical chemistry at Cornell University in 2000-01,
Samantha Glazier looked forward to an academic
career. But she found few mechanisms to help new
faculty acquire crucial skills like obtaining
research funding, developing course material,
and balancing research and teaching responsibilities
with committee service.
At the same time, Xenia Morin,
who was raising two daughters, was ready to return
to work. Morin had earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry
from Cornell in 1992. Shed held postdoctoral
appointments at Germanys European Molecular
Biology Laboratory and Torontos Hospital
for Sick Children and then took a hiatus to spend
time with Haley, 5, and Hannah, 3. "I liked
teaching and I liked research, and I always imagined
myself doing both," she says.
Tomomi Kinukawa, who had earned
her bachelors degree from the University
of Tokyo and her doctorate in the history of science
from the University of Wisconsin, aimed to build
a bridge between the humanities and the sciences.
New postdoctoral fellowships
at Bryn Mawr College are helping all three women
to advance in their careers. Glazier and Morin
hold the Colleges first Keck Postdoctoral
Research/Teaching Fellowships in the Sciences
and Mathematics; Kinukawa is the first Mellon
Fellow in the History of Science. Morin and Kinukawa
came to Bryn Mawr in fall 2001. Glazier arrived
at the College for the spring 2002 semester, after
she completed her doctoral work.
Alfonso Albano, Marion Reilly
Professor of Physics and a director of the Keck
program, says the Keck fellowships represent an
opportunity for Bryn Mawr "to be of service
to the academic community." The program builds
on the Colleges strengths, he notes. "Research
universities train research scientists, while
liberal arts colleges put equal emphasis on teaching
and research," Albano says. "We have
many examples of faculty members at Bryn Mawr
who do really well at both." The first five
years of the program are being supported by a
$750,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation of
Los Angeles; after that, the College will provide
continuing support. Two additional Keck fellows
will be appointed in fall 2002. Future appointments
are expected for fall 2004.
Both the Keck and Mellon fellowships
are aligned with the Colleges Center for
Science in Society, which focuses on pedagogical
issues and interactions between the scientific
community and the public at large. The fellows
participate in the Centers programs and
discussions. During the fall semester, Morin presented
a discussion on the role of universities in the
face of increased demand for industrial collaboration;
Kinukawa gave a talk on multiculturalism in science.
conducted in the laboratory of Susan White, associate
professor and chair of chemistry investigates
how the ribosomal protein L30 interacts with RNA.
In the initial phase of her project, shes
establishing a fluorescent assay that will enable
her to observe structural changes during binding.
On the teaching side, Morin
has been assisting Karen Greif, professor of biology,
with a course on biology and public policy. In
the first year of her Keck fellowship, Morin leads
discussions and helps students prepare position
papers; she will have full teaching responsibilities
in fall 2002.
While at Cornell, Morin perceived
an emphasis on graduate students research
at the expense of teaching. "That shortchanged
the undergraduates, but it also shortchanged our
graduate careers," she says. In 1989, she
founded Cornells Teaching Assistant Development
Program to address educational issues. The program
continues to this day; last February, it
enrolled its 2,000th graduate student.
At Bryn Mawr, Morin says,
she appreciates the opportunity to observe departmental
logistics such as the division of teaching responsibilities.
Shes enjoyed interacting in small classes
with bright students who eagerly participate in
discussions. "I hope that I can be a role
model for women who wonder if you can be both
a mother and a scientist," she says.
As a Keck Fellow at Bryn Mawr,
Glazier is doing research in the lab of Professor
of Chemistry Sharon Burgmayer. At Cornell, Glazier
studied the photophysical properties of dendrimers,
a collaboration between physics and two chemistry
groups. She is looking forward to investigating
a field of chemistry thats new to her
bioinorganic chemistry and to developing
new cross-disciplinary courses. "Im
attracted to that approach to research,"
Glazier is also team-teaching
an introductory chemistry course with Burgmayer.
"Having a teaching partner has allowed Sharon
to explore some new techniques that she hadnt
had the time to try before," Glazier says.
Next summer, she plans to supervise undergraduates
in Burgmayers lab, but for now, she says,
"Im learning from them about the molecules
made in this lab."
While studying at Cornell,
Glazier participated in a science outreach program
at the Lansing Residential Center for Girls, which
rehabilitates young women between the ages of
13 and 17 who have committed nonviolent offesnses.
With the centers science teacher, she designed
and coordinated a summer science series that included
hands-on projects like making polymers and dating
volcanoes using core samples. "I had been
really focused on my studies," she says.
"I wanted to get involved in the outside
world and do something that wasnt just for
Kinukawa first studied in
the United States as an undergraduate in 1987-88,
when she took a year abroad at Goshen College,
Ind. The experience inspired her to apply to a
graduate school in the United States. "I
wanted to continue opening up some new worlds
here," she says.
Kinukawas research interest
lies in how the introduction of Western medicine
influenced changes in the experience of health
and disease in various groups of women, their
ideas of womanhood and their relations to the
state during the Japanese Empire. The Mellon Fellowship
in the History of Science funded her trip to Japan
to conduct research last winter.
historians of science we attempt to obtain a deeper
understanding of science by putting it into larger
social and cultural contexts and offer insights
to determine its proper role in our society,"
Kinukawa, who has been teaching
a course in the history of women in science, is
impressed by Bryn Mawr students. "They really
enjoy reading the course materials," she
says. "They read them not just to complete
the assignment, but for the sheer joy of knowing.
And Im learning a lot from them."
About the Author
Barbara Spector writes on
science and technology as well as business topics.
She is the executive editor of Family Business
magazine and former editor of The Scientist.