Professor Emily Wiley awarded Fulbright
“The best way to learn science is to do science.”
This ethos forms the foundation for Professor Emily Wiley’s approach to teaching and leading Claremont McKenna students in the classroom, as well as through hands-on projects in the research lab.
And, it’s this exact philosophy that recently earned her a prestigious 2023-24 Fulbright Scholar Award, which will take Wiley to Croatia in spring 2024 to expand her “understanding of similar challenges in other educational contexts outside of the U.S.”
“One of my long-term career goals has been to broaden student access to authentic research. I’ve worked on this problem for many years – exploring different models, learning the barriers to implementing research as part of courses in the curriculum, and how to best support faculty to bring opportunities related to their own research into the classroom,” Wiley said.
Wiley, a professor of Biology who studies epigenetics and gene regulation underlying cell differentiation, was recently named director of program development for the new Kravis Department of Integrated Sciences at CMC. In this role, she contributes to faculty recruitment, foundational science courses, undergraduate research opportunities, mentoring programs for new KDIS faculty, and the advising program for KDIS students.
Among her goals at CMC is to create “a community around the broad inclusion of students in science research” and provide “students with the opportunity to experience the thrill of authentic discovery, to understand what science is really all about, and to discover their scientific talents,” she said, while encouraging faculty-student collaborations allows students “to more easily see themselves as scientists, as they make valuable contributions to our knowledge base that people care about.”
Wiley’s springtime return to Croatia — whose natural beauty she came to admire during a previous rock-climbing trip — was spurred by her discovery “that the country hopes to attract more students into science. I knew that I might find interest in the kinds of things that I’ve explored in the area of student engagement with research. Sure enough, I found faculty members at the University of Split willing to explore best practices and their challenges with me.”
As an example, Wiley said, “I’ll be able to explore whether faculty support systems that work in the U.S. are feasible in another country, and explore possibilities to build a multi-country collaborative around student-centered research initiatives.”
The Fulbright, Wiley said, will offer her an opportunity to extend her studies to reduce barriers to science education, and “advance my work fostering inclusive communities of faculty and students working collaboratively on problems that matter to people around the world.”