Initial Publication Date: August 16, 2022

Empowering STEM departments to enact change through the PULSE Ambassadors Program

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

10-11 am PT | 11am-12pm MT | 12-1 pm CT | 1-2pm ET

Presenters: Alix Fink, Longwood University; Sheela Vemu, Waubonsee Community College; and Nitya Jacob, Oxford College of Emory University

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The PULSE Ambassadors Program is designed to inspire department-level transformation in STEM education through a two-day workshop with department faculty and follow-up support activities. A team of trained facilitators guides the department to build a shared vision for transformed undergraduate education by increasing ownership and collaboration in the visioning process. Rooted in biology-education reform efforts, the program supports departments across STEM disciplines and institution types as they undertake the challenge of providing equitable access to STEM education for all students. Participants in this session will learn about the goals, structure, and outcomes of the PULSE Ambassadors Program.


The target audience for this webinar are faculty members and academic administrators interested in strategies to initiate and implement systemic change in undergraduate STEM education.


Participants will learn about:

  • the PULSE Ambassadors Program,
  • its collaborations with departments, and
  • evidence of momentum for departmental transformation.


Registration deadline: Sunday, September 25, 2022

Time - 10:00 am PT | 11:00 am MT | 12:00 pm CT | 1:00pm ET
Duration - 60 minutes
Format - Online web presentation via Zoom web meeting software with questions and discussion. Go to the webinar technology page for more information on using Zoom. Detailed instructions for joining the webinar will be emailed to registered participants one day prior to the webinar.
Preparation - There is no advance preparation required for this webinar.

Please email Bradlee Cotton ( if you have any technical questions about this event.


Alix Fink
Longwood University
Alix Fink, Longwood University

Alix D. Dowling Fink has served as a Biology faculty member at Longwood University for 21 years and currently also serves as Associate Provost for Research and Academic Initiatives. Her doctoral training was in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, and her field research has focused on birds and bats.Recently, Dr. Fink's scholarship has shifted to science education. She has been active in the SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) project for nearly 20 years, and she has served as a PULSE (Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education) Fellow for a decade. She serves as co-PI on an NSF S-STEM project that supports students in four natural science fields, and she coordinates an NSF-funded project that supports academic departments in their efforts to implement curricular and pedagogical change.

Sheela Vemu
Waubonsee Community College
Sheela Vemu, Waubonsee Community College

Sheela Vemu is an associate professor at Waubonsee Community College, Illinois. Her career as a community college life science instructor has been fulfilling using the pedagogical approach of infusing industry defined case studies and quantitative skills in the classroom. She is a CC-Bio INSITES community college biology scholar. Recently, she has been asked to serve as Guest Co-Editor for the Special Issue – Community College Biology Education Research CBE – Life Sciences Education (LSE). She leads hackathon teams to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) using Antibody Engineering research ideas for the development of workforce skills. She currently serves as an auxiliary board member for the Chicago Council on Science and Technology. She is the Current Chair for the Community College section of National Biology Teachers Association (NABT) and runs the Community Conversations Webinar for NABT.She is a PULSE(Partnership in Undergraduate Life Science Education) Fellow since 2020 is part of the Midwest and Great Plains Regional Circle.

Nitya Jacob
Emory University
Nitya Jacob, Oxford College of Emory University

Dr. Nitya Jacob is a Professor of Biology at Emory University's Oxford College where she currently serves as the Chair of the Natural Science and Mathematics Division.  Her disciplinary expertise includes plant biotechnology, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, and applied biology. Dr. Jacob's work focuses on creating opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in scientific research at early points in their college career and other aspects of undergraduate education reform. She received the AAAS-Science Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI) Prize in 2011 for her laboratory module which incorporates authentic research into the introductory biology curriculum. Dr. Jacob served as a Biology Division Councilor in the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) from 2012-2017 and is an alumna of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Biology Scholars Program. Dr. Jacob is a founding member and current President of the Partnership for Life Sciences Education (PULSE) organization whose mission is to stimulate national transformation of undergraduate biology education using a department-level focus.