Dr. Sheron Mark Wins Scholar Award and Earns New Faculty Position

CURes Researcher Dr. Sheron Mark has won a National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Equity and Ethics Committee 2015 Jhumki Basu Scholar Award. Dr. Mark holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University. She came to CURes as a postdoctoral researcher after receiving her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education from Boston College. The Jhumki Basu Scholar Award was “designed to support and to nurture promising young scholars from underrepresented groups…it is intended to intellectually support the development for these emergent scholar’s programs of research.”

Upon hearing the good news, CURes Executive Director Dr. Eric Strauss, stated, “I am thrilled that Sheron has received this award as she is so talented and committed as a scholar. Her future is bright and we are so delighted to have hosted her postdoctoral fellowship at LMU. I have worked with Sheron since our days at Boston College where she was a doctoral student in the lab of my colleague Dr. Michael Barnett who is a Professor of Science Education. We look forward to collaborating with Sheron in the future from her new academic home at the University of Louisville.”

At CURes, Dr. Mark focuses on elevating the status of underrepresented and traditionally marginalized communities by supporting their empowerment and critical awareness. In her research statement, Dr. Mark states, “I am committed to increasing the representation and supporting the active participation of historically marginalized student populations in STEM. I am also driven to make STEM more equitable and accessible by promoting non-traditional means of STEM participation.” She studies educational processes, particularly identity development and learning environments, of young people. She works to identify spaces that may serve as foundations for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) engagement. She is driven to promote STEM as a widely defined and diversified domain with open access to knowledge, social, and cultural capital that does not replace or take away from students’ inherent cultures.

Previous work in support of these efforts has included collaborative informal science program development for K-12 students and the use of urban ecology and environmental studies as culturally relevant and tangible entry points for STEM. Through her work at CURes, Dr. Mark collaborated with a variety of community partners, as well. She has engaged with local schools and teachers in the Los Angeles Unified, Culver City Unified, and Lennox Public School Districts through Project STELLAR and other research endeavors. She, along with fellow post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Michele Romolini, and LMU professors, Drs. Eric Strauss and John Dorsey, has also collaborated with the Baldwin Hills Conservancy through a research grant funded my LA Prop 84 funds.

In terms of teaching at LMU, Dr. Mark has taught courses in the Biology and Environmental Studies Departments, including the interdisciplinary “Ecology of Homelessness”. Dr. Mark shared that the “Ecology of Homelessness” course “was an innovative way to integrate STEM with the social sciences.”

In May, Dr. Mark will leave CURes in order to accept a position as Assistant Professor of Science Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Dr. Mark, you will be missed, but we all feel extremely fortunate to have been able to work with you and wish you the best of luck in your new faculty position!

SHERON PHOTO copyDr. Sheron L. Mark migrated to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago in 2003 to begin her undergraduate career at Syracuse University. In 2006, she earned her B.S. with honors in Biochemistry, followed by her M.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2008, both from Syracuse. Having grown interested in understanding and positively impacting the experiences women and girls of color, as well as other diverse and underrepresented student populations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Dr. Mark then earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on STEM education in 2012 from Boston College. Dr. Mark focused her research, instructional, and program development efforts most as part of the Urban Outreach Initiatives College Bound team, along with other grant-funded research projects and teaching at the university and high school level. Dr. Mark is now a post-doctoral fellow at CURes conducting research on equity and opportunity through STEM and environmental education and environmental studies; STEM interest and career development; and science as a space for student identity negotiation, amongst other areas. Additionally, Dr. Mark serves as a part-time faculty member in the Seaver College of Science and Engineering and the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.