Southeast Regional PULSE Institute Plenary Speakers
(listed in the order of their presentations)

Saundra Yancy McGuire, Ph.D.
Dr. McGuire is the Director Emerita of the Center for Academic Success and Retired Assistant Vice Chancellor and Professor of Chemistry at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Prior to joining LSU in August 1999, she spent eleven years at Cornell University, where she served as Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, and received the coveted Clark Distinguished Teaching Award.   Prior to Cornell she spent six years at Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, AL.

Dr. McGuire is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2011 she was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2010, she was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. In November 2007 the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) was presented to her in a White House Oval Office Ceremony.

Dr. McGuire received her B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA; her Master’s degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; and her Ph.D. in Chemical Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she received the Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Professional Promise. She is married to Dr. Stephen C. McGuire, professor of physics at Southern University. They are the parents of Dr. Carla McGuire Davis and Dr. Stephanie McGuire, and the grandparents of Joshua, Ruth, Daniel, and Joseph Davis.

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Elizabeth L. Ambos, Ph.D.
Elizabeth L. Ambos is Executive Officer for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). CUR ( supports and facilitates high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. Over 680 institutions and 10,000 individuals belong to CUR, an international non-profit organization. CUR believes that the best way to capture student hearts and minds, and to create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty mentors. Beth’s passion for everything to do with undergraduate research began with her own undergraduate research experience while a student at Smith College. Beth Ambos received her A.B. in Geology from Smith College (magna cum laude), and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in marine geology and geophysics. While a graduate student, her specialty was working with explosive charges and deploying (and retrieving) ocean-bottom seismometers.

Prior to becoming CUR’s Executive Officer, Beth Ambos served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Initiatives and Partnerships, from 2006-2012. In this capacity, she supported the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system research and sponsored programs efforts, fostering external and internal support for CSU mission-related initiatives and partnerships. Before her appointment at the CSU system office, Beth Ambos held several administrative appointments at California State University, Long Beach, including Associate Vice President for Research and External Support, Graduate Dean and Associate Dean in the College of Natural Sciences in Mathematics. She held a professorship in the Department of Geological Sciences at CSULB, and is the main author or co-author on more than 30 peer-reviewed journal or book chapter publications, and more than 90 presentations at professional conferences. She has helped obtain and/or manage more than $60M in grant and contract funds over the past two decades. In her spare time (!), she pursues a wide range of interests, loves to travel, and will always brake to see rock outcrops along the freeway…

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Sara Brownell, Ph.D.
Dr. Brownell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. She received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University, a M.S. in Biology from The Scripps Research Institute, and a Ph.D. in Biology and M.A. in Education, both from Stanford University. Sara completed a postdoctoral scholarship in science education with Kimberly Tanner at San Francisco State University and a postdoctoral scholarship in biology education with Scott Freeman and Alison Crowe at the University of Washington.

Trained as a neuroscientist and turned full-time education researcher, she teaches undergraduate biology courses while building a research program in biology education at ASU. Her research interests focus on assessing course-based research experiences, identifying gender differences in undergraduate biology, developing programmatic assessments focused on core concepts, and exploring issues related to faculty professional identity.

Sara has recently published an article about the BioCore Guide project, and departments seeking to align their coursework to the outcomes called for in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action will find the BioCore Guide useful.

Erin Dolan, Ph.D.
Dr. Dolan earned a B.A. in Biology at Wellesley College and Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of California at San Francisco. She has held tenure-track and tenured faculty positions at Virginia Tech and University of Georgia, where she also held the position of Senior Scholar in Biology Education. Dolan is the founding Executive Director of the Texas Center for Science Discovery in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. The Center aims to integrate the teaching and research missions of the College by expanding undergraduate student involvement in science research, supporting evidence-based science instruction, offering professional development on teaching for current and future faculty, and serving a testbed for innovative science education programming.

Dolan’s research focuses on understanding science research as an educational context. Her group studies scalable ways of engaging high school and undergraduate students in science research, mentoring of undergraduate researchers by graduate and postdoctoral researchers, and research as a mechanism for undergraduates to access to social capital within the scientific community, especially for students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sciences. She is principal investigator or co-investigator on more than $6 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other agencies. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals read by scientists, teachers, and education researchers.

Dolan is also Editor-in-Chief of CBE – Life Sciences Education (, the premier journal of biology education research and evidence-based teaching. She has been an invited speaker for education symposia at national meetings of scientific societies such as American Society of Plant Biologists and American Society for Microbiology. She has served as evaluator for multiple science education and professional development programs, and an invited facilitator of professional development on teaching and biology education scholarship.

Daniel Wubah reduced
Daniel A. Wubah, Ph.D.
Dr. Wubah is a professor of biology and the provost at Washington and Lee University. He has a B.Sc. (Hons.) from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, M.S. from the University of Akron, and Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the EPA Lab in Athens, GA.

He was an Assistant Professor at Towson University where he later became the chairperson of the Biology Department. He was associate dean, College of Science and Mathematics, special assistant to the president, and professor of biology at James Madison University (JMU). He was Associate Provost at University of Florida. Before his current position, he was the Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Deputy Provost at Virginia Tech.

At JMU, he designed and established the Centennial Scholars Program to provide access to students from under-represented groups in Virginia. For the past twelve years, he has directed an NSF REU program in Ghana that focuses on ecology, ethnobotany, conservation and environmental biology. He studied the obligately anaerobic zoosporic fungi, dehalogenation of polychlorinated biphenyls and fiber degradation in wood-eating catfish. He has taught several courses including general microbiology, medical microbiology, microbial ecology and mycology. His publications include more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings and technical reports.

He has received grants from the NSF, NIH, USDA, HHMI and other funding agencies. He has served as a consultant the NSF, NIH, the National Academies of Sciences, and Quality Education for Minorities Network. He served on advisory boards for the NSF Biology Directorate and the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering. He was a member of the board of directors of PKAL before it merged with the AAC&U. He is a member of the advisory committee for the HHMI Program at the University of Arizona, a trustee for the SACSCOC, a member of the Board of Governors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore as well as the Board of Directors of the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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