On Nov. 13, Michael Harris, senior biology major and environmental studies minor from Lexington, S.C., presented his poster at the National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference in Providence, R.I. His poster, entitled “Assessment of the Peer-Assisted Learning Resource Center for Introductory Biology Students at Presbyterian College,” earned him third place in the national competition. Harris was also the only undergraduate to win an award.
Established in 1938, the NABT is an organization whose mission is to “empower educators to provide the best possible biological and life sciences education for all students.” The annual conference Harris attended focuses on “becoming better at teaching biology, sharing good concepts that result in higher student understanding, and sharing research occurring at different institutions.”
Dr. Suann Yang, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Troy Nash, professor of biology, both mentors for Harris’s project, regularly attend the NABT annual conference to present on the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences program for the first semester of introductory biology here at Presbyterian College.
Harris’s project involved conducting an anonymous survey on the second semester students in introductory biology lab. “The Learning Resource Center is where students can come and ask questions about pre-labs or lab techniques from present biology majors and minors” who serve as peer mentors to these students, Harris said.
“The results showed that no matter how often a student attended the LRC on a weekly basis, they thought that the LRC was a good resource and the peer mentors staffing the LRC were knowledgeable and approachable,” Harris continued.
“I feel very honored and proud to receive this award, especially from a national entity such as NABT,” Harris said. “It was a great opportunity for me as an undergraduate, and I would recommend attending this conference for any biology teacher or prospective biology teacher that wants to figure how others in the field conduct their classrooms in new and innovative ways.”
Written by Allison Cooke, a junior English major, media studies, journalism track minor from Winnsboro, S.C.