Sara Brownell

Assistant Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
4501

Biography

Sara Brownell is a neuroscientist turned full-time education researcher, who teaches undergraduate biology while studying biology education. As a science faculty member with education specialty, she uses both qualitative and quantitative data to better understand how undergraduate biology students learn and how instructors can develop more effective ways to teach.

Professor Brownell's interests in undergraduate biology education are broad, but her current work focuses on three main avenues. She investigates the impact of undergraduate research experiences on students, specifically students enrolled in course-based research experiences. She develops a programmatic assessment for biology majors that focuses on the core concepts of biology. She also explores issues related to access and equity in undergraduate biology, specifically the experiences of women, religious students, and LGBTQIA students.

Education

  • Ph.D. Biology, Stanford University 2011
  • M.A. Education, Stanford University Graduate School of Education
  • M.S. Biology, The Scripps Research Institute
  • B.S. Biological Sciences, Cornell University

Research Interests

Undergraduate biology education

Research Group

Publications

  • Shortlidge, E. E., Bangera, G., & Brownell, S. E. (2016). Faculty Perspectives on Developing and Teaching Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences. BioScience66(1), 54-62.
  • Brownell, S. E., & Kloser, M. J. (2015). Toward a conceptual framework for measuring the effectiveness of course-based undergraduate research experiences in undergraduate biology. Studies in Higher Education40(3), 525-544.
  • Brownell, S. E., Hekmat-Scafe, D. S., Singla, V., Seawell, P. C., Imam, J. F. C., Eddy, S. L., ... & Cyert, M. S. (2015). A high-enrollment course-based undergraduate research experience improves student conceptions of scientific thinking and ability to interpret data. CBE-Life Sciences Education,14(2), ar21.
  • Brownell, S. E., Freeman, S., Wenderoth, M. P., & Crowe, A. J. (2014). BioCore Guide: A Tool for Interpreting the Core Concepts of Vision and Change for Biology Majors. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13(2), 200-211.
  • Eddy, S. L., Brownell, S. E., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Gender gaps in achievement and participation in multiple introductory biology classrooms.CBE-Life Sciences Education13(3), 478-492.
  • Bangera G. and Brownell S.E. (2014).  Course-based undergraduate research experiences can make scientific research more inclusive. CBE Life Sciences Education.
  • Brownell, S. E., & Tanner, K. D. (2012). Barriers to faculty pedagogical change: lack of training, time, incentives, and… tensions with professional identity?.CBE-Life Sciences Education, 11(4), 339-346.

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Research Activity

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 493 Honors Thesis
PHY 494 Special Topics
BIO 494 Special Topics
BCH 494 Special Topics
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
BIO 194 Special Topics
BIO 360 Animal Physiology
BIO 492 Honors Directed Study
BIO 493 Honors Thesis
PHY 494 Special Topics
SES 494 Special Topics
CHM 494 Special Topics
BIO 494 Special Topics
BCH 494 Special Topics
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 499 Individualized Instruction
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
BIO 493 Honors Thesis
BIO 494 Special Topics
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 591 Seminar
BIO 598 Special Topics
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
BIO 189 Life Sciences Career Paths
BIO 194 Special Topics
BIO 360 Animal Physiology
BIO 492 Honors Directed Study
BIO 494 Special Topics
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 499 Individualized Instruction
BIO 591 Seminar
BIO 598 Special Topics
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
BIO 493 Honors Thesis
BIO 494 Special Topics
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 591 Seminar
BIO 598 Special Topics
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
BIO 189 Life Sciences Career Paths
BIO 194 Special Topics
BIO 360 Animal Physiology
BIO 492 Honors Directed Study
BIO 494 Special Topics
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 591 Seminar
BIO 598 Special Topics
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 499 Individualized Instruction
BIO 591 Seminar
BIO 598 Special Topics
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
BIO 189 Life Sciences Career Paths
BIO 360 Animal Physiology
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
BIO 591 Seminar
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
BIO 598 Special Topics

Honors/Awards

  • Arizona State University Centennial Teaching Award, University-wide Teaching Award, 2015
  • Fellow for Arizona State Universitys Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, 2015
  • Awarded Most Influential Faculty by a Student-Athlete, Sai Tummala, 2015
  • Finalist for Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award, 2014
  • Stanford Biology Student Services Award, Departmental Service Award, 2012
  • Alzheimers Drug Discovery Foundation Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 2011
  • Walter J. Gores Teaching Award, Stanford Universitys Highest Teaching Award, 2010
  • Stanford School of Medicine Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant, 2009
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Stanford Department of Biology, 2008
  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship (SGF) in Science and Engineering, 2008-2011
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, 2005-2008