SUU Chemist Dr. Rocabado Secures Prestigious NSF Grant for Equity Diversity and Inclusion Conference

Published: November 27, 2023 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 3 minutes

Dr. Guizella Rocabado

Assistant Professor of chemistry, Dr. Guizella Rocabado, has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant. This grant will fund the organization of a virtual conference on Chemistry Education Research through the lens of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Securing a grant is extremely competitive, especially one of this unique kind. “Because NSF has decided to fund this project, to me, it means that they are willing to spend funds on this important topic and support the people who are doing this work,” said Dr. Rocabado. “I am excited to be able to organize the conference and see it materialize after hoping for it.”

Eight scholars across the United States have come together to organize this project. The conference will hold four virtual sessions in which these scholars will talk about EDI in different ways. Starting with a session in which several scholars from across many disciplines will educate the audience about EDI and the groundwork that has already been done in other disciplines. Then there will be working sessions in which experts will touch on research methods and theories appropriate for this kind of work as well as classroom practices. It will close with a reflection session in which the audience can commit to meaningful changes and practices that enhance EDI.

The conference is designed for meaningful change, with the hope it will positively impact many researchers and practitioners in their own spaces, and in turn, students will also be positively impacted by these intentional changes to improve their academic experience.

“Improving EDI in STEM spaces will make everyone and everything better, from individuals to communities,” said Rocabado. “Science needs more people of diverse backgrounds, identities and points of view. Diversity only enhances science and we need more science, not less.”

Organizers of the project foresee the benefits for students will come in the form of their teachers and mentors implementing better ways to teach them and mentor them. Leading to more students of diverse backgrounds being able to access resources and break down barriers in STEM.

“These changes often happen when a critical number of people work in their small realms of influence to make these changes,” said Dr. Rocabado. “That’s what we are trying to do: help people to create these changes in their own research and practice so that when a critical number of us do it, the entire system can change.”

Dr. Rocabado attended SUU for three years (2009-2012) and has been teaching at SUU for five years (2015-2017, 2021-present) and has won the affection of many students in her department.

“I love chemistry because it’s the lens that allows me to see the world through the very smallest and most basic material, “ said Dr. Rocabado. “Understanding the world at a molecular level allows me to better understand science and make better decisions for myself. I absolutely love to be able to explain the world in a logical, yet almost magical way.”

Dr. Rocabado loves to see her students demonstrate growth. She notices when her students work hard and get accepted to prestigious grad school programs, find a great job, or receive an award for excellent service or academic achievements.

“I stand on the shoulders of my past teachers and mentors, and it gives me enormous satisfaction to mentor and train students to live their best lives,” says Dr. Rocabado.

At SUU chemistry students study and research in modern, fully-mediated wireless classrooms and laboratory facilities that are equipped with a full range of laboratory instruments. The program routinely ranks above the 90th percentile of the nation and offers a professional chemistry emphasis that is certified by the American Chemical Society.

Learn more about SUU’s chemistry program.

Tags: College of Natural Sciences SPARC FacStaff STEM Chemistry

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Nikki Koontz