Join CIC Talks on Wednesday, October 7th for a presentation by Paulette Vincent-Ruz, a postdoctoral associate in chemistry education at the University of Michigan. She will be exploring the subtleties of chemical thinking, an important variation of critical thinking that she insists must be informed by an appreciation of the socio-cultural nature of science. She begins that appreciation with her own background as a Latinx woman of colour.

“I am an immigrant born and raised in Mexico,” she says. “English is my second language, and I have a Mexican accent when I speak English. All of these components of my identity shape my way of collecting, representing, and understanding data from marginalized students in the U.S. educational landscape.”

Such aspects of an individual’s character are not incidental to the way we approach chemistry, she adds, but central to the concept of chemical thinking and the scientific development of marginalized students.

“Engagement in chemical thinking depends on both the resources the learner has as well as on the experience design and learning environment,” argues Vincent-Ruz. “Overall, my approach to effective teaching pays close attention to equity and justice. That is, it gives equal value to the knowledge/practices that are the (ever-expanding) current foundation of the chemistry field, and knowledge/practices that will position our students to succeed and change a scientific culture that has a long history of reproducing systemic injustices.”