Hi! My name is Seth Thompson and I’ve been collaborating on the ExcelAQUA project with Ivar Rønnestad and others. I first joined the project as a graduate student in Dr. Sehoya Cotner’s lab group at the University of Minnesota and have primarily been involved with supporting the summer school program. As an educational researcher, I’ve been helping to understand how student and instructors in these international research courses experience active learning pedagogies. Specifically, we have been looking at how cultural backgrounds influence the expectations of the instructor-student relationship and how these expectations play our during active learning activities. In addition to this research, I’ve helped deliver a workshop for incorporating active learning into lessons for instructors in the ExcelAQUA summer school program and have presented on our work in this project at several conferences. We were just recently awarded a Phase II grant to continue our ExcelAQUA program and I am excited to continue our efforts in understanding how to deliver high-quality international courses with an emphasis on research-based teaching practices.
Outside of my collaboration on the ExcelAQUA project, I am very interested in researching how course-based research experiences can help students learn about fundamental concepts in ecology and environmental science as well as strategies for recruiting and retaining diverse scientists. I earned my PhD in 2019 in limnology, where I studied the biogeochemistry of phosphorus compounds in freshwater systems. After my PhD, I completed a post-doc in biology education research focusing on STEM equity and course-based research experiences. I now serve as the Director of Outreach in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota where I oversee and assess the impact of community-engagement programs on students’ scientific identity formation and their commitment to scientific careers.