Chemistry Professor Presents at University of Puerto Rico
Dr. Kermin Martínez-Hernandéz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, presented at the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo on Friday, November 9.
His workshop entitled, “Developing Undergraduate Students in STEM Research,” presented new research strategies in hopes of sparking students’ interest in STEM research at the University. A total of 34 people attended, including eight faculty members and 26 students from the Departments of Physics/Chemistry and Mathematics.
The interactive workshop allowed participants to learn about the development of possible investigations using constructivist strategies such as authentic research and Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Students and professors collaboratively went through the inquiry process of developing a tentative investigation based on real-world problems in the surrounding areas of Arecibo. They analyzed lead contamination in milk, soil, and air due to a recycling battery plant;possible incinerator plant environmental impact; water extraction from Tiburones wetland; and residual water treatment – all issues affecting Arecibo.
“The students recognized that when an investigation is based on a real-world problem from which they are affected, they will be more motivated and will successfully develop the investigation because it is something that they can identify with,” reflected Martínez-Hernandéz. “On the other hand, the professors realized that they should be flexible in the areas of the investigations that students choose to work with, and they should become a facilitator of the research process.”