Initial Publication Date: February 26, 2021

March 2021 Researcher Spotlight- Dr. Carolina Michel

Read more about Dr. Carolina Michel's GER research interests and background in our March 2021 Researcher Spotlight!

What is the focus of your current geoscience education research?


My current focus is developing/applying best practices to integrate indigenous or local ecological knowledge into the western science curricula; I am interested in indigenous epistemologies, methodologies, and practices. But weaving western and native knowledges calls for high ethical standards; we must be respectful, and collaborate with the local communities and tribes so the project is co-created with them. It all begins with building relationships with local communities and tribal Nations, and that's where I am.

What has been the best tool/resource you've found for developing as a geoscience education researcher?

A wealth of incredible resources is right at our fingertips, and that makes it hard to say which one is the best. But I would say it is mentorship. A person who has made a universe of difference for me is Steve Semken. He has greatly influenced my teaching and my development as a geoscience education researcher.

What is your favorite or "must read" education research paper? Why is this paper meaningful for your work?

For people interested in incorporating indigenous ways of knowing, I recommend reading the white paper "Relationships First and Always: A Guide to Collaborations with Indigenous Communities", by Gardner-Vandy and Scalice. It is a great piece on the topic of ethical research with indigenous peoples and has sound advice for both western practitioners and funding agencies.


What is the most interesting paper you have read in the field recently? How did it spark your researcher curiosity?

Bilingual science communication: A call for a geoscience community of practice, by Medina Luna, Bartel, Hubenthal and Haacker (2019).I am a native Spanish speaker and the paper made me wonder how to integrate this part of myself into my career.


Most recent publication: Londono, S.C., Hartnett, H., Williams, L. (2107) Antibacterial Activity of Aluminum in Clay from the Colombian Amazon. Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Feb 21;51(4):2401-2408. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04670.