Melanie Peffer, Assistant Teaching Professor, Health Professions Residential Academic Program
Saturday, February 12, 2022 • 1-2:30 p.m.
During this CU on the Weekend lecture, Professor Peffer will help us Identify connections between science and our everyday lives, as well as how bridges can be built between biology and other disciplines such as the arts.
Although we experience biology daily, many struggle to see the connection. Some don’t feel like they are a science or biology person, or think they can’t engage with biology or view biology as simply a collection of abstract facts that don’t matter outside of the classroom. This ultimately leads to low science literacy and hurts society as people either choose not to engage with major science issues like conservation, climate change or public health, or fall victim to competing predatory information. So, what do we do?
Professor Peffer argues that when we present science through the lens of daily experiences it becomes relatable and accessible. This talk demonstrates, through personal experience and real world examples, how viewing science as meaningful to our lives fires the imagination, sparks curiosity and encourages learning. It is easier to feel like a science person and confidently engage with science. Rather than an abstract collection of facts, science becomes a dynamic and fascinating process we engage in and with every day.
Melanie Peffer has a BS and PhD in molecular biology from the University of Pittsburgh, and she completed postdoctoral training in learning sciences at Georgia State University. She is a teaching assistant professor with the Health Professions Residential Academic Program and research scientist Level II with the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Peffer’s research is focused on how people learn biology, with an emphasis on teaching about the nature of science knowledge and how we can use educational technologies to assess students’ understanding of science.
Peffer is the author of the best-selling book Biology Everywhere: How the science of life matters to everyday life. She was also the 2021 High Plains Library District Foundation's writer in residence and spent her residency working on a children's series called The Biology Adventures: On the River which launched in December 2021. Peffer’s outreach work includes coaching others about how to communicate science with the general public and developing educational content with TED-ED. She also gave a TEDx Talk in 2021. For more information, visit Peffer’s website.