Faculty

Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlinDr. Jacqueline McLaughlin

The Pennsylvania State University - Lehigh Valley
Associate Professor of Biology
CHANCE Founding Director

Dr. Jacqueline McLaughlin is an Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, and Founding Director of Penn State's award-winning, international, environmental education engaged scholarship program called CHANCE (Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences). Whether she is working as a cell and developmental biologist on cancer cell lines with her undergraduate students in her research laboratory or as a conservation scientist studying the effects of global climate change on ecosystem diversity and dynamics with high school teachers and undergraduates in the fields of China, Costa Rica, Cuba, or Panama, her overall mission is to create learning environments wherein students, at any level, are inspired and effectively learn science by doing actual research. As a scholar, she has published, as an author or editor, 45 publications in peer-reviewed books, journals, proceedings, and online environments, and has gratefully accepted numerous awards at the local, state, and national levels for excellence in teacher professional development, international programming and education, and undergraduate biology teaching and learning. Dr. McLaughlin’s research interests hold true to her endless passion for teaching itself: (1) the utilization of authentic research in undergraduate biology education; (2) building pedagogical and mentoring frameworks that help faculty transform biology laboratory environments into authentic research experiences; and, (3) creating and assessing international programs that are interdisciplinary and effectively teach conservation through field research.

Dr. McLaughlin prides herself in being a visionary who effectively "reimagines" educational interfaces, course delivery, and programs. Her experiences as a teacher of biology, researcher in the field of biology teaching and learning, and director of a university-wide international educational program have also provided her expert training in creating effective web-based educational materials and interfaces, partnership building (CHANCE has 45 partners worldwide), and leadership skills.

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Dr. FadiganDr. Kathy Fadigan

The Pennsylvania State University - Abington College
Associate Professor of Science Education
Program Chair for Education and Rehabilitation & Human Services

Dr. Fadigan is an Assistant Professor of Science Education and the Program Chair of the Education and the Rehabilitation & Human Services (RHS) degree at the Abington College. She earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Technology in Education from Temple University in 2003. She has been a full-time faculty member at Penn State Abington since 2005. She teaches courses in science education, sustainability leadership, and plant biology. She also coordinates the campus greenhouse and garden. Since 2007, she has served as a co-instructor for the CHANCE field study in Costa Rica and Panama. Her research interests include informal science education, science fairs, using social media to educate adults about food waste, and gender equity in science. 

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Sarah EisslerSarah Eissler

Ph.D. Candidate in Rural Sociology & The Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment
Penn State University
Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education (AESE)

Ms. Eissler is currently a Ph.D. candidate Penn State University in the dual-title Rural Sociology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment program. She received her M.S. degree in Rural Sociology and in International Agriculture and Development; and a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in English from Penn State University. Ms. Eissler’s research focuses on community-based management of natural resources and sustainability in agriculture, particularly in the face of climate change. With support from the Borlaug Institute and National Geographic, Ms. Eissler is investigating social impacts of climate change for small-scale cacao farmers in Indonesia. Through her research, she aims to incorporate understandings of the natural and social world to better develop sustainable approaches to agriculture in the face of climate change. She has extensive international experience in over 40 countries, including Cuba. She also has language experience in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia.  

Dr RojasDorka CobiĆ” Rojas, PhD.

Field Scientist
Penn State University

Dr. Dorka graduated with a degree in Biology from University of Havana in 2002. In 2010 she graduated with a Master's degree in Marine Biology and Aquaculture with Mention in Marine Ecology from the Center of Marine Research of the University of Havana. In 2016 she finished her PhD studies getting the degree of Doctor in Ecology and Sustainable Development in El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Mexico. She has been working as specialist in Guanahacabibes National Park since 2004, which belongs to ECOVIDA adscript to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba (CITMA). She is in charge of the program of research and monitoring of the park. Since the beginning of her work she has been involved in the creation, management, strengthening and enforcement of the Guanahacabibes National Park. Also she has led or has been involved in projects related to research, monitoring and management of endangered species, coral reefs and habitat quality of areas all over the Cuba.

Her research has been also related to the biology and ecology of marine fishes in coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses, mainly in Guanahacabibes, but also in other MPA of Cuba and Mexico. She has participated in 15 research projects and 85 scientific-technical workshops. She has presented 44 papers in scientific congresses and she has 28 scientific publications.

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