Actionable strategies for improving equity, inclusion, and justice when teaching chemistry

Date: February 20, 2024 12:00 pm (ET)


  • Dr. Alicia McGhee
    Reed College
  • Maria Matlinska
  • Dr. Vincent Ziffle
    First Nations University of Canada
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This panel discussion will explore actionable strategies for fostering equity, inclusion, and justice in chemistry education. Our experts will share insights, challenges, and successes related to their teaching efforts to improve equity and inclusion in chemistry. This will be an interactive session; audience members will have opportunities to pose questions to and discuss with panelists. The session will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.


Dr. Alicia McGhee, Reed College

Bio: Alicia McGhee is an organic chemist who studies reaction development and chemical education at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Alicia joined the department in 2015 and teaches introductory and advanced organic chemistry. Her research interests include the development of safer chemical reagents and implementing processes that reduce the use of toxic compounds and/or the generation of chemical waste. In the classroom, she is interested in implementing active learning strategies and incorporating societal themes such as social justice, the life cycle of chemicals in the environment, and information literacy. Before Reed, she studied organic chemistry methodology, organometallic catalysis, and natural products synthesis at the University of East Anglia (M.S.) and the University of Washington (Ph.D.).


Maria Matlinska, unaffiliated

Bio: Maria is a materials chemist, NMR spectroscopist, and accessibility advocate. She has graduated with a master’s in science degree from the University of Alberta’s Chemistry Department.

Since her early undergraduate research years, Maria has been passionate about the applications of techniques offered by solid-state NMR to study a wide variety of substances, including metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), polymorphs of natural products, and the characterization of hydrogen bonding in the solid state.

Maria is a member of the Canadian Society for Chemistry WIDE (Working for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) committee and leads the Ableism Fighters subcommittee, addressing accessibility challenges faced by scientists with disabilities. She promotes the use of the term “diverse-ability spectrum” instead of “disability”. Her personal experience as a chemist on the diverse-ability spectrum made her reflect on the inaccessibility of STEM and its innate discriminatory nature she’d like to help change. Now, she is a chemistry sessional instructor at one of Edmonton’s universities, where she tries to incorporate the EDI education component as a part of her introductory and advanced chemistry courses. Maria is always looking for new and exciting research and teaching opportunities.

Visual description: Maria is a white, cis woman in her twenties with short brown hair, wearing tinted glasses.

Vincent Ziffle

Dr. Vincent Ziffle, First Nations University of Canada

Bio: Dr. Vincent Ziffle (he/him) is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), in Regina, Saskatchewan. He has been teaching there since 2010. His research interests include Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous Science, uses and chemistry of Medicinal Plants of the Boreal Shield and Central Plains, organic chemistry of plant secondary metabolites, Indigenous Fine Art technologies, and food chemistry. He works toward the elucidation of medicinal plant compounds with noteworthy medicinal properties, and the treatment of nefarious biofilm infections via Traditional methods. Dr. Ziffle has also developed CHEM 101: Chemistry of Food and Cooking, which incorporates food chemistry, plant medicine and Indigenous Food Traditions, and unique food labs where students learn from Traditional Knowledge Keepers about Indigenous Food pathways, sovereignty, and sustainability. He is a promoter of all things STEM and is a proponent of STEAM – capital “A” for arts, design, and Indigenous Culture – via Let’s Talk Science and FNUniv’s Indigenous Outreach team of student mentors and educators.