Divya Sitaraman

I chose to be a scientist early in life as I felt that science and technology are the most tangible ways to impact the world and make change. I am lucky that I found mentors who helped me at every step of my journey and want to play a similar role in young people’s lives. Since coming to USD in 2014, I have actively engaged students in my neuroscience research and developed teaching strategies that mirror the scientific process with a focus on experimentation and rigor. I joined the Changemaker Faculty Fellows development program to develop a comprehensive research and education program that not only engages students in the sciences but empowers them to persist in the field.

One of my goals as a Fellow is to learn more about evidence-based strategies that I can include in my teaching and research to attract a wider audience. While there is a lot written about why science feels inaccessible, there is very little focus on what scientists can do to change the state of affairs. The inability of scientists to communicate effectively with the community is creating a divide that is detrimental to progress and I would love to learn and explore ideas to bridge this divide.

As a foreign-born woman scientist, I have often felt like a misfit and outsider. The only thing that has kept me going is the joy of learning and experiencing science through research and teaching. Science is for everybody and should be a way for people to connect. More people need to feel like insiders in the field of science and technology and I believe that my experience as a science researcher and educator coupled with my interest in science communication will be beneficial to the program.