By Rachael Warecki ’08
Emily Wiley, professor of biology in the W.M. Keck Science Department, has been selected as a Fulbright US Scholar for Croatia for the 2023–24 academic year. Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide opportunities for scholars to teach and conduct research abroad. Funding provided through the Department of State will support Wiley’s continued science education research on an international level.
“This opportunity will extend my studies on the barriers to high-impact science education pedagogies, and on solutions involving faculty support,” Wiley says. “The right kind of support enables faculty members to mentor more students doing original research, while simultaneously advancing their scholarship goals.”
Wiley’s areas of expertise include molecular biology, epigenetics, enzyme modification, and gene expression. In addition to her scientific research, she also focuses on promoting interdisciplinary, problem-centered learning and building collaborative, research-focused, and inclusive science education programs. It’s a combination that has earned her a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for early-career faculty, an NSF research grant subaward for her study of genomics, an NSF Improving Undergraduate Science Education Award, and two Scripps College Johnson Faculty Achievement Awards for Teaching.
As a Fulbright US Scholar, Wiley will continue her pedagogical work during her time in Croatia, where institutions are prioritizing science and technology career training for their students.
“It’s broadly accepted that the best way to learn science is to do science,” Wiley explains. “However, there are big challenges, both in the US and abroad, to implementing authentic research in a classroom setting so that many students can participate.”
For faculty, these challenges often include balancing their own research responsibilities with creating engaging, research-focused curricula, a process that’s both time- and labor-intensive. Drawing from her experiences at Keck, Wiley will work with colleagues at the University of Split to assess strategies for overcoming these barriers and for incorporating research-based pedagogies across a variety of educational contexts throughout Croatia. Wiley believes that sharing curricula, resources, and expertise, as well as working toward common research goals, are all key to the development of student-centered educational collaboration and exchange.
“Ultimately, this project should open up pathways for multi-country collaborations focused on student research opportunities,” Wiley says. “It will greatly advance my work fostering inclusive communities of faculty and students working collaboratively on problems that matter to people around the world.”