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Christine O'Donnell

Arizona State University
Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Christine O’Donnell (she/her) is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar with a passion for understanding how the Universe works and sharing that knowledge with others. Her Ph.D. dissertation was a combination of (1) research into galaxy formation leveraging the power of both observations and simulations and (2) research into developing a framework for inclusivity-driven education in a general-education astronomy course. At ASU, she is working with both the Center for Gender Equity in Science & Technology (CGEST) and the School for Earth & Space Exploration (SESE) to continue developing, implementing, and assessing inclusive science education. Her new science curricula will explicitly include principles of cultural relevance and intersectionality in order to empower students to connect science with their personal/sociocultural identities.

POSTER TITLE: Culturally Responsive Astronomy Education: Using a Critical Lens to Promote Equity and Social Justice

THEME: Diversity, inclusion, and equity

ABSTRACT: In recent years, addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields, such as astronomy, has received growing attention. Many reports, including those by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and American Institute of Physics, have highlighted the lack of diversity and emphasized the need for equity. To effectively promote equity and social justice in STEM, we need to acknowledge the role of oppression in the disciplinary cultures and thus change the cultures to be ones that are created by and for people of all identities and lived experiences. These actions will also improve the teaching and learning of STEM content. In astronomy-focused learning environments, previous efforts have aimed to address cultural issues by incorporating Indigenous beliefs and practices into astronomy content. However, these efforts are limited by their lack of critical reflection, thus hindering students from problematizing the systemic and cultural inequities in astronomy, STEM, and society at large. Here, we present a culturally responsive approach to astronomy education built on a model of asset-building, reflection, and connectedness. Students will learn astronomy content, such as about Solar System dynamics through physical modeling and simulations, as well as participate in discussions that problematize cultural norms and develop potential solutions. Our approach guides students to critically engage with STEM and empowers them to become change agents for making STEM disciplines more equitable and just.

PDF LINK: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WawnBwlXgBQzb_hnKuNjGCThaSocnbnM/view?usp=sharing (to my personal Google Drive, not the padlet)
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