Jill Hopke

Environmental Communication. Social Movements. Mobile Media.

Tag: uw-madison (page 2 of 3)

Bringing the Power of Stories to Science Education

Last Friday, March 16, 2012, I attended a workshop, “How Stories Teach,” on integrating cases studies into science education to internationalize curriculum, sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) International Programs office, along with the UW’s Division of Information Technology’s Engage program.

Coming from a background in radio, I am keenly aware of the power of storytelling and was interested in its application to teaching science. I was not disappointed in the least.

It is not an easy time to be an educator in Wisconsin, so it was reinvigorating to to hear about concrete examples of what passionate instructors in the sciences across campus are doing to make science accessible and heighten critical thinking skills in students. In her opening, CALS Dean Kathryn VandenBosch reminded attendees of our mandate to prepare students for the realities of the twenty-first century economy where they will need to work in internationalized and/or multicultural settings. The question is, how do we help our students move in these directions? VandenBosch’s answer, tell them stories and think about innovative teaching methods.
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One Year of #wiunion: Remembering. As We Move Wisconsin Forward.

It has been quite a year in Wisconsin and I am proud to have lived in these times. It has not been a moment to stand on the sidelines of history.

We have lost much but I believe over the course of the coming years will gain much more in terms of social progress. Here is an excerpt of a blog post I authored for Defend Wisconsin:

A year ago the system of social trust in Wisconsin began to come unraveled. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Gov. Walker’s announcement of the Budget Repair Bill, now Wisconsin Act 10, effectively ending 50 years of public sector collective bargaining rights.

I believed a year ago that we would “kill the bill.” I believed if we made our voices heard, we could appeal reason on the part of lawmakers. If we spoke about the hardships this bill would cause around the state for families, for students, for ordinary Wisconsinites that go to work everyday with faith in the system, our government would listen to us. Continue reading

A History of Cultivating Opportunities for Women in Science at UW-Madison

One of the fun things about preparing for prelims is taking the time to step back and reflect on all I’ve learned over the past four and a half years. One particularly gratifying service learning project that I’ve had the chance to work on while in graduate school was producing a 50-year anniversary video for UW-Madison’s Expanding Your Horizons program that seeks to engage middle school girls in science and technology fields. Its objectives are to:

Increase interest in science through hands-on experience;
Awareness of math and science-related careers; and
Bring young women with “limited opportunities for success” in positive experiences in math, science and technology.

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Prelims or bust!

2011 has been an interesting year to say the least. I am proud of all that we’ve done in Wisconsin to stand up for workers rights and defend the democratic process, as well as my small part of it through the TAA and our Defend Wisconsin project. For an excellent collection of essays check out this volume “We are Wisconsin” edited by my friend Erica Sagrans, one of the many people I’ve had the privilege to get to know in 2011.

While the past year may have been about protesting in many respects, I also finished my doctoral coursework, submitted several research papers to journals (and a few revisions!), co-authored a book chapter on mobile phone use in Colombia (details forthcoming) and was inducted into the UW Teaching Academy.

But 2012 is all about “prelims,” or the preliminary exams that I need to pass in order to become a doctoral candidate. The way it works in my department is that I’ll need to take five eight-hour long open book exams over the course of two weeks, one for each of my dissertation committee members.

I’m embarking on this intellectual journey hopeful that it will be an opportunity to step back and reflect on all that I have learned over the past four and a half years. Many people have told me that coming out of prelims I will feel smarter than ever. For a reflection on this, see this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Personally, here is some of what I find invaluable:

Camille and Allison at Redamté.

1. Study buddies. I’m lucky to be in a graduate program that fosters research collaboration. While graduate school is very individualistic in many respects I have always tried to approach it in a collective spirit so that we all succeed. Along those lines I have had the honor to slog through these years with many fellow students who have become good friends and constant sources of inspiration, intellectual and otherwise. Plus, you make me laugh (especially the lovely ladies pictured here). Thank you!

2. Mentors. I am also fortunate to have the professional mentorship of many excellent scholars and practitioners in the field of communications who believe in my abilities as a scholar and human being. Thank you all! I really could not do this without your support and encouragement.

3. Organization. Because eight hours isn’t that much time.

4. Healthy habits (eating well, getting enough sleep and exercise). Because there’s truth in the saying “You are what you eat.”

5. Creativity and a computer. Enough said.

Hopefully I’ll end this year “as smart as I’ll ever be,” well on my way to completing a dissertation and Wisconsin will have a new governor.

e-lsc: Exploring the Rhetoric of Science with Jenell Johnson

An interview I conducted with Jenell Johnson, Ph.D., is featured in the Winter edition of e-lsc, the Department of Life Sciences Communication’s online alumni newsletter. Johnson is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Communication Arts and Associate Director of the Disability Studies Cluster, who recently joined LSC as its first Honorary Associate Fellow.

She discussed the rhetoric of science, turning a “scientific” lens onto science itself, UW-Madison’s Disability Studies Cluster and the “disability studies perspective,” as well as her two forthcoming books: The Neuroscientific Turn: Trandisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain and Medical Marvel: Lobotomy in American Medicine and Culture. Here’s an excerpt:

e-lsc: One thing that really struck me as interesting about your work is contextualizing science. What do you see as the implications of this?

Jenell Johnson: This is directly related to what a lot of people in LSC study, which is how do non-scientists come to understand science and medicine? I appreciate that people have really started to pay attention to engagements with science that take place in venues that we don’t often consider “legitimate” forms of science education, like AAAS public forums or the science and health sections of the New York Times. I think this is a big pay off from the influence cultural studies has had on the academy. We learn about science from things like postage stamps or through film, through fictionalized things, like comic books. What LSC is doing is bridging that gap.

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