Science fact or fiction, art and nature proposals win course development grants

ABINGTON, Pa. — Three Penn State Abington faculty members received Integrative Studies Seed Grants from the Penn State Office for General Education to support course development projects this summer.

Ann Schmiedekamp, professor of physics at Abington, will use the funds to develop a course titled "The Film Media and Extraterrestrial Life: Science Fact or Fiction?" 

Schmiedekamp teaches physics, astronomy and astrobiology and leads special topics courses for students involved with research projects at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia.

She has served as a NASA Solar System ambassador for almost two decades, sharing information with local communities about NASA's space exploration missions and recent discoveries.

Les Murray, associate professor of biology, and Yvonne Love, assistant professor of art, will collaborate on developing a course around the theme of art and the natural world.

Murray is an expert in ecology, evolution and wildlife, and his field-based research focuses on using technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) to assess habitat use by animals.

Love's teaching philosophy of exposing students to new ideas and new materials will inform the new course.

"I challenge students to express ideas within a given set of boundaries and additionally challenge them to push those boundaries in ways that are intellectually stimulating," Love has said. 

The aim of the Seed Grant Program is to incentivize faculty to develop integrative studies courses. All course ideas embrace the goals of General Education, specifically around the integrative thinking and learning objective and the new integrative studies requirement.

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Last Updated April 25, 2017