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LBC faculty receive Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship

The MSU Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi has selected Lyman Briggs College's Drs. Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Georgina Montgomery, and Kevin Elliott’s project “Promoting Inclusive, Ethical, and Successful STEAM Teams,” as the winner of its 2015 Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship (EAIS). The award recognizes excellence in a team effort in teaching, research, or service at MSU. The team, which also includes Drs. Patricia Soranno (Fisheries and Wildlife), Isis Settles (Psychology), and Pang-Ning Tan (Computer Science and Engineering), will be recognized for their award at a Phi Kappa Phi Chapter Ceremony on Saturday, April 18th at the Wharton Center. They wrote the following summary explaining their “Promoting Inclusive, Ethical, and Successful STEAM Teams” project:


Promoting Inclusive, Ethical, and Successful STEM Teams
Many of the common expectations, or norms, of today’s science disciplines were developed during a time that was very different from today. Because science practices are rapidly changing, so too are these norms. Our team studies four important areas of change: (1) How ‘big data’ is changing the culture and norms of environmental science; (2) How data-sharing facilitates an inclusive STEM culture; (3) How diversity within STEM teams contributes to ethical behaviors; and (4) How the next generation of environmental scientists can be trained for success in interdisciplinary, team-based, data-intensive research.

The themes of interdisciplinarity and diversity apply both to our own research team and to the outcomes that we are studying and promoting. Our team consists of two environmental scientists (Kendra Spence Cheruvelil and Patricia Soranno), a psychologist (Isis Settles), a historian (Georgina Montgomery), a philosopher (Kevin Elliott), and a computer scientist (Pang-Ning Tan). Four of our team members are women, and two are scholars of color. We span the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (KC, KE, PS), the College of Social Science (IS, GM), the College of Engineering (PNT), and the Lyman Briggs College (KC, KE, GM), and we have begun to work with new collaborators in the MSU Library.

To date, we have published an influential paper in BioScience and received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, as well as an internal grant from MSU’s S3 program. We are currently writing a paper on changing norms in response to the rise of big-data science, and we are developing new grant proposals to the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. Given the increasing number of scientific projects that incorporate interdisciplinary teams and big-data methodologies, our research efforts have the potential to play a significant role in emerging and future scientific practice.