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TAA Member Receives Research Grant From NSF for Wiki Education Project

Brian ShmaefskyTAA Member Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky, Professor of Biology & Environmental Science at Lone Star College – Kingwood, received a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to engage students from a Hispanic-serving institution to write Wikipedia biographical entries of Hispanic scientists who are underrepresented in Wikipedia. The goal is to improve the visibility and reduce citation inequity of scientists from marginalized populations.

As part of the Wiki Education project, students do background research about the scientist using primary sources, learn to write for an international audience, learn to respond to subject matter expert reviews, learn how to conduct peer reviews, and gain information literacy skills. The program provides students with a detailed schedule of training activities to facilitate the completion of the projects. The goal of the project is to help “students gain key 21st century skills like media literacy, writing and research development, and critical thinking, while content gaps on Wikipedia get filled thanks to students’ efforts.”

The program is being used by dozens of universities. The concept is a follow-up of several NSF-funded Division of Undergraduate Education grants on providing accessibility, equity, and inclusion using Wikipedia and other open-source resources. “We are being awarded $170 per Wikipedia entry to go towards improving inclusiveness and equity in environmental science education,” said Shmaefsky. “One other benefit of the project is that my students are learning how to search and simplify primary resource academic publications.”

Congratulations Brian!