SOAR Student Profiles

Madeline Aadnes

Madeline Aadnes

  • SOAR Position: Member; Alumni
  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Liz Barnes

Current Focus: Black undergraduate biology students and their community's attitudes, behaviors, communication habits, and knowledge of COVID19 and COVID19 vaccines

Additional Interests: Current level of undergraduate communication skills about climate change

Project Description

Currently I am working with a team of two other undergraduate researchers, we are continuing a prior study, but concentrating on a sub population of our last study. This study is focusing on the Black undergraduate biology students and their communities' perceptions of COVID19 and COVID19 vaccines. To explore this we are interviewing students to have a more in-depth understanding of their personal experiences during this pandemic. Our goal with this study is to be able to improve understanding of the Black communities' attitudes towards the pandemic and how educators can facilitate a more inclusive classroom when discussing COVID19 and other controversial subjects.

Why does this topic interest you?

This topic is very relevant to todays educators and researchers as we are still in the midst of the pandemic. COVID19 is not my main research concentration it is just one of the projects I am working on currently, my main focus is on climate change education/communication research. Climate change research is interesting to me as it is not as well established in the biology education research field as say evolution. I have been interested in environmental science and conservation since high school. Additionally, I wanted to explore climate change research as it is such an important topic that has become politicized and thus is difficult for the scientific community to express its significance to the general public. I focus on undergraduate biology education as we are educating the future scientists of the world and they need to know how to communicate about controversial scientific topics (i.e. climate change, COVID19, evolution, etc.).

What are your professional aspirations?

I am planning on going to graduate school for Marine and Environmental science. I want to work as a marine biologist focusing on conservation of marine ecosystems. Additionally, I am interested in continuing in academia via being a professor and research.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

My advice would be don't be afraid to reach out to professors to learn about their research and ask about joining their research team. I know it is easier said than done, but the worst that can happen is they say no, either way you still put yourself out there! Also be confident in you and your abilities.

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