Pacific Northwest Fellows

In 2012, forty life sciences educators throughout the United States accepted a daunting but important task -- to serve as catalysts to stimulate department-wide reform in undergraduate Life Sciences programs across the country.  This is the work of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), which was established through a collaborative effort among leaders from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute for Health/National Institute for General Medical Science, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  Additional PULSE Fellows have joined in this work, and the PULSE Fellows in the Pacific Northwest region include:

Gary Reiness, PhD  

Since Sept. 2015, I have been Professor of Biology Emeritus at Lewis & Clark College. At Lewis & Clark I served as Biology Dept. Chair, Dean of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and Associate Dean for Faculty Development. Prior to joining Lewis & Clark in 1994, I was Professor, Biology Dept. Chair, and Associate Dean at Pomona College. Throughout my career, I have been active in national efforts to promote student learning through research and to improve undergraduate science education. A member of the Council on Undergraduate Research since 1988, I was a Biology Division Councilor from 1989-1994 and 2006-9. I have been active in Project Kaleidoscope since 1991, where I have been a member of the National Steering Committee, Scientist-in-Residence, and mentor in the Summer Leadership Institute. From 2005-2011 I was an Associate Editor of CBE-Life Sciences Education, a peer-reviewed on-line publication of the American Society for Cell Biology.  My research on vertebrate nervous system development and my educational work was funded by the NSF, NIH, and several private foundations. In addition I have been PI on science grants to Lewis & Clark College from NSF, HHMI, and the W. M. Keck and Sherman Fairchild Foundations. I am delighted to be a Leadership Fellow of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education (PULSE), where I currently serve as co-PI on two grants. I’m also a Fellow of the AAAS.  I was educated at Johns Hopkins University (BA in chemistry) and Columbia University (PhD in biological sciences) and was a postdoctoral fellow in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco. 

Alyce DeMarais, PhD

I am a Professor, and Chair, of the Biology Department at the University of Puget Sound, a liberal arts college in Tacoma, Washington.  I enjoy working with our undergraduate students through teaching introductory biology, genetics, and developmental biology as well as working with students in the research lab where we are interested in environmental influences on the genetics of ovary and egg development, using fish as a model system.  My research area is a melding of my undergraduate studies at the University of Washington, School of Fisheries; my doctoral studies at Arizona State University; and postdoctoral work at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.  Through my stint as an Associate Academic Dean at Puget Sound I became more aware of the benefits of diplomacy, curriculum development, careful budget management, and assessment.  I became involved with PULSE when I was part of a team from Puget Sound who participated in the first Northwest PULSE Community of Practice workshop.  I am delighted to now be a PULSE Fellow and part of the NW PULSE regional network.  I am fortunate to work with dedicated people—at Puget Sound, through the NW PULSE group, and around the country through PULSE—to transform STEM education for all students. 

William B. Davis, PhD 

Dr. William (Bill) Davis is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.  He received his BA from Drury University in 1994 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Northwestern University in 1999.  After two years as an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Technical University of Munich, Bill joined the faculty of the School of Molecular Biosciences in 2001.  Since 2007, he has been the Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies in the School and helped lead transformation of its curriculum through the implementation of ongoing programmatic assessment and a strong focus on undergraduate research using innovative fast-track BS to PhD programs and the introduction of project-based laboratories in courses ranging from Freshman Biology to Senior Genetics and Immunology laboratories.  Since 2009, he has also participated in and strongly supported the WSU Team Mentoring Program, a peer and faculty mentoring program for underrepresented students in STEM.  In 2012 he became an Associate Dean and has helped lead the development of new student programs designed to improve the retention of students in the applied life sciences.  Bill’s current research interests focus on the impacts of classroom and laboratory pedagogy on student learning outcomes in large enrollment freshman classes, including the Introductory Genetics and Cell Biology course that he teaches each semester.  He also is active in developing innovative programs that lead to the transformation of both individual faculty and departments/institutions engaged in life sciences education, work facilitated by his efforts as a PULSE Vision & Change Leadership Fellow and the leader of the National Academies of Sciences Scientific Teaching Summer Institute at Washington State University.  

Jenny McFarland

Joann J. Otto, PhD

Since July 2016, I have been Professor Emerita at Western Washington University.  After ~25 years as a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, I moved to WWU where I chaired the Biology Department for 12 years and taught cell and molecular biology courses.  At Purdue, I had several leadership positions, culminating in being the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School (now College) of Science.  I was recognized with awards for excellence in teaching and for mentoring, especially of women.  At WWU, I led my department in incorporating the recommendations in Vision and Change into the curriculum.  I am on the leadership team for a NSF supported project, Change at the Core, which provides training in active learning strategies and inclusive teaching practices to STEM faculty at WWU, Whatcom Community College and Skagit Valley College.  I was selected a PULSE Leadership Fellow in 2013 and am member of the PNW PULSE Fellows and the PULSE Ambassador Team.  My scientific expertise is in cell biology, and I taught and conducted research in this field throughout my career.  I am Fellow of AAAS.  I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Mount Holyoke College in Biological Sciences, my Ph.D. at University of California, Irvine, in Developmental and Cell Biology, and did postdoctoral research in cell biology at University of Pennsylvania and Baylor College of Medicine.

Erika Offerdahl

Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, PhD

I have been involved in the transformation of STEM education since my participation in the Faculty Institute for Reform of Science Teaching II (FIRST II) beginning in 2002 in collaboration with faculty at the University of Washington.  I was also a participant in the North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership based at Western Washington University, which focused on improving training for both science teachers and pre-service science teachers.  I am involved in biology education research and have given presentations at national meetings such as the Society for Advancement of Biology Education Research and the Association of American Colleges & Universities, Crossing Boundaries: Transforming STEM Education.  As a faculty member at EvCC, I used an NSF Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement grant to integrate simulation, modeling and quantitative reasoning into biology courses for science majors.  STELLA modeling software is also used in a non-majors Sustainability and Systems course that I designed. As a PULSE Fellow, I have led the PULSE Recognition Circle, which has created a comprehensive set of rubrics to allow faculty to determine how to better align their curriculum with national priorities for STEM education.  .  Becoming a PULSE Fellow continues to be a transformative experience and I have gained enormous personal satisfaction in the work with my PULSE colleagues and the many STEM educators that I have interacted with as part of the PULSE Community. As of August 2017, I relocated from the Pacific NW to become the Dean of STEM at Harford Community College in Bel Air, MD. 

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