Learning Narratives from First Generation Students in STEM Classrooms

Learning Narratives from First Generation Students in STEM Classrooms

Danielle Flores Lopez, Jonglim Han, Ariel Robbins, Dorcia Chaison, Laura Bix, Cori Fata-Hartley, and a Student Panel

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

11:15 - 1:00 (Lunch at 11:15, program starts at 11:30)

Biomedical and Physical Sciences (BPS), room 1425


This workshop is the second in a series designed to explore the experiences of students from marginalized groups in STEM classrooms. An overarching goal of the workshop is to create more inclusive learning environments that promote learning and success for a diverse group of students. The program will include a brief overview of the research on first generation students in higher education as well as key summary data on MSU first generation students. The workshop will highlight the experiences of first generation students and will feature a panel of students who have generously agreed to share their stories from MSU classrooms and overall engagement. After hearing from the panel, participants will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned to example classroom scenarios and discuss strategies to address the challenges described by student panelists.


Danielle Flores Lopez is the Assistant Director of Student Success for the College of Natural Science. She advises Biological and Physical Science-Interdepartmental majors, students who have academic concerns, and assists with student success initiatives. Danielle is a member of the NatSci Council on Diversity & Community.

Jonglim Han is the Dow STEM Academic Advisor. She has been at MSU for over 15 years. She is a proud APIDA immigrant and 1st generation college student. She serves as an IDEA coordinator for the Neighborhoods.

Ariel Robbins is the assistant director and academic advisor of the Charles Drew Science Scholars program in the College of Natural Science. Drew Scholars is a comprehensive and inclusive academic support program for students pursuing NatSci disciplines. She has been working with Drew Scholars since 2008 and is one of the primary support sources for its students. Ariel is also a member of both NatSci’s Council on Diversity & Community and NatSci’s Taskforce on Inclusive Initiatives. She has a committed interest in supporting students and their all-around success at MSU.

Dorcia Chaison is the Assistant Dean for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She has been at MSU for 19 years and has served in various roles in the college. Beyond her current administrative responsibilities, she oversees a retention program, coined REAP (Retention, Engagement, Academics and Performance). The REAP program addresses strategies of success for participants that include selection of goals, time management, assignment tracking, major/career placement and a learning styles inventory. Dorcia served as one of the first university fellows appointed by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education (APUE) whereby she coordinated activities and events that addressed the professional development for all MSU academic advisors. During her tenure as APUE Fellow, she received the Outstanding Advising Administrator Award and continually works to provide ANR advisors with strategies to enhance student success and retention.

Cori Fata-Hartley is Assistant Dean for Curriculum Coordination in the College of Natural Science. Throughout her career she has participated in fellowships focused on teaching and learning in STEM disciplines including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Teaching Fellowship, New Generation for Scientific Teaching Program while a postdoctoral associate at UW-Madison and the American Society for Microbiology Biology Scholars Program after joining MSU. Her efforts at MSU have focused on improving STEM teaching and learning and increasing the retention and academic success for a diverse group of learners. Fata-Hartley received the 2013 All-University Individual Award for Sustained Effort toward Excellence in Diversity in recognition of her work to promote and foster inclusive learning environments at MSU. As Assistant Dean for Curriculum Coordination, Fata-Hartley works with departments and programs across the college to develop and improve curricula and the connections among them. She is also the director of the STEM Teaching and Learning Fellowship program.

Video of Session