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American Society for Microbiology

American Society for Microbiology logo

The American Society for Microbiology, founded in 1899, strives to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health, environmental and economic well-being worldwide.


Mary Mawn
Editor Degrees: 

Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

M.Ed., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

B.S. in Biochemistry, College of Mount Saint Vincent


About Teaching and Course Source: 

Dr. Mary Mawn is an associate professor and academic area coordinator in science, mathematics, and technology at the Center for Distance Learning, SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY, where she teaches courses in microbiology, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, and science education. Dr. Mawn earned a B.S. in biochemistry from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, NY, and an M.Ed. in educational technology and Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studied ribosome structure and function in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Her current research interests focus on identifying ways to teach scientific process skills in online science courses, exploring ways to design rigorous lab-based biology courses for distance learning students, and promoting the online professional development of science teachers. As a discipline editor for CourseSource, she looks forward to working with biology colleagues from across institutions and teaching settings, to support and promote the development and dissemination of original, peer-reviewed biology teaching resources that foster student learning and active engagement.

Rachel Horak
Rachel Horak
Editor Degrees: 

B. S. Biology, Davidson College

M. A. Biology, College of William & Mary

Ph.D. Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology

About Teaching and Course Source: 

Undergraduates are so much fun to work with! While I was at Georgia Tech as a Ph.D. student, I completed a Certificate for Instruction in Higher Education and developed an excitement for evidence-based instruction, active learning, and effective course design for the biology undergraduate classroom. At the American Society for Microbiology, I mentored faculty to implement the ASM Curriculum Guidelines (the foundation of CourseSource's Microbiology framework) in their own classrooms and co-authored two concept inventories for undergraduate microbiology. In my own undergraduate classes, I emphasize the development of flexible and transferable skills that undergraduates will need for 21st century jobs, whatever they may be. The way I see it, with the prevalence of the internet and uncertainty of the content knowledge of the future job force, is it more important to memorize things like physiological pathways or use information, write thoughtfully, or read with a critical eye? I tend to focus on developing higher-order thinking skills, such as analyzing arguments, designing experiments, or synthesizing multiple ideas into a cohesive thesis. Not only does the development of these higher-order thinking skills better prepare students for life after college, but it is much more fun to teach courses in this fashion.



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