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Slepecky Lecture, Award Ceremony to Take Place April 4
The Norma Slepecky Memorial Lecture and Undergraduate Research Prize Award Ceremony will take place Wednesday, April 4, at 2:45 p.m. in 304 Schine Student Center. This is a change from the previously announced starting time of 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available for the event. If you have requests for accessibility and accommodations, please contact the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services (EOIRS) office at 315.443.4018.
Guest speaker Nora S. Newcombe, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University, will lecture on “Spatial Thinking for STEM Success.” Spatial thinking concerns the locations of objects, their shapes, their relations and the paths they take as they move. Spatial skills are as important, as literacy and numeracy and play a central role in achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This talk will review research showing that (a) spatial thinking and STEM learning are related, and (b) spatial thinking is malleable. It will go on to evaluate two strategies for using these findings in education. Strategy 1 involves direct training of spatial skills. Strategy 2 involves spatializing the curriculum, using tools including spatial language, maps, diagrams, graphs, analogical comparison, physical activity that instantiates scientific or mathematical principles, gesture and sketching.
Newcombe received a B.A. in 1972 from Antioch College and a Ph.D. in 1976 from Harvard University. Her research focuses on spatial cognition and development, and the development of episodic memory. She is currently principal investigator of the NSF-funded Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, whose purpose is to develop the science of spatial learning and use this knowledge to support children and adults in acquiring STEM skills. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006 and to the Society of Experimental Psychologists in 2008 and has numerous publications and awards to her name. She is president-elect of the Federation of Associations of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
“Dr. Newcombe is an outstanding cognitive scientist and a pioneer in the scientific study of spatial cognition,” says Amy Criss, professor and chair in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. “She is also a fierce advocate for the sciences and an award- winning mentor. We are very fortunate to welcome her to Syracuse University to honor the legacy of Dr. Slepecky.”
Professor Norma Slepecky, for whom the lecture and research prize are named, was only 57 when she died on May 2, 2001. She was a distinguished auditory neuroanatomist and professor at Syracuse University. As a professor of bioengineering and neuroscience in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and member of the Institute for Sensory Research, Slepecky was a passionate researcher herself and an advocate for undergraduate student research. She frequently mentored undergraduate students seeking research experience. She also strongly supported efforts to increase the number of women in science and engineering.
With her enthusiastic approval, her family, friends and colleagues joined together to endow the Norma Slepecky Memorial Lectureship and Undergraduate Research Prize just prior to her passing. She hoped that her legacy, with the support of the endowment, would continue to encourage young undergraduate women to conduct research, thereby combining both her passions. The deans of represented colleges designated WISE as the stewards for this lectureship by a noted woman scholar and award to an undergraduate woman researcher and the celebration luncheon.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York State, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, please visit www.syracuse.edu.