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CE research group welcomes new PhD student Shannon!

The Cell EXPLORERS research group has had a ‘new’ PhD student join their ranks! We say ‘new’ figuratively because they actually started in September 2021, but we are a bit late sharing this wonderful news.

Shannon Stubbs is doing her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Muriel Grenon! She will also be working in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer DeWitt, expert in Science Capital, her research co-supervisor and adjunct lecturer at NUIGalway in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. Dr. Veronica McCauley from NUI Galway School of Education) will be her academic co-supervisor. Shannon was awarded the prestigious NUI Galway Hardiman Scholarship to fund the project.

Shannon is no stranger to the Cell EXPLORERS, as she previously did her final year research project with us in 2017 as part of her B.Sc. in Zoology. She developped educational activities for the All-Ireland Pollinator plan. We are very excited to have her back with us!

Shannon’s research project will aim at implementing the Science Capital Teaching Approach in an informal, scientist-facilitated intervention. Science capital is a concept that encapsulates all science-related knowledge, attitudes, experiences and social contacts that a person has (watch this handy video to learn more about Science Capital).

Many children, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, cannot envision themselves as scientists or as someone that does science-related activities. The Science Capital Teaching Approach aims to widen participation and improve inclusivity in the science classroom. Shannon will be looking to see how this approach, originally designed for formal teachers in their classrooms, can be imbedded in the way our Cell EXPLORERS volunteers engage with young people in our hands-on science activities. She will be primarily using the Fantastic DNA session to investigate this!

Shannon has this to say about her project: ‘I am looking forward to contributing to best practice in informal science education and helping more children see why science could be for them. My research will investigate whether implementing this approach in an informal short-term, scientist-facilitated intervention such as those run by Cell EXPLORERS is effective’.

In addition to her PhD, Shannon is also the Cell EXPLORERS NUI Galway volunteer coordinator, a role she currently shares with undergraduate student Aoife O’Connell. Read more about the NUI Galway coordination team here.

We are delighted to welcome Shannon to the research group, and look forward to seeing how her project develops over the next few years!


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