Vashti Sawtelle featured in Engaged Scholar Newsletter
Prof. Vashti Sawtelle is featured in the January issue of the Engaged Scholar Newsletter. The article titled: Can Physics Educators Create a More Encouraging Environment for Black, Latino, and Native American Science Students? discusses how physics educators can help build more inclusive and supportive classrooms.
There are repercussions with the lack of diversity. It means that when minority and female students enter a high school or university physics classroom, they are most likely to encounter white, male professors, classmates, and physics professionals.
That poses a few questions. Can we level the playing field to attract, nurture, and encourage people of color? Why don't more women become scientists? What more can be done to encourage them? How should it be done?
Sawtelle studies how mentors, family dynamics, and teachers influence students as they formulate a relationship with science. In some cases, those factors contribute to the withdrawal of a science interest. Integrating ethnographic methodologies into her work provides Sawtelle with key insights into cultural experiences that impact a person's journey toward becoming a physicist.