Plenary Speaker Profile (2001)
Patricia L. Perez
Professor of Chemistry
Mt. San Antonio College
Science and Math are Universal; Are Your Courses?

With Janan M. Hayes

As educators in science and math, we all view most of our course content topics as universal in nature, crossing geographic, chronological, cultural, political and discipline boundaries. But do students view their courses with that same perspective? Is Islamic chemistry different from Mexican chemistry different from Chicago chemistry? Is algebra different in Japan and Italy and California? Is chemistry connected to biological, physical, and medical topics? Using examples from Project Inclusion, we will provide a framework for bringing universality to a variety of course topics without drastically changing the topic list of your course(s). One example will take the study of the same iron redox reactions to the basket making of some California Native Americans, pottery production in Japan and the creation of iron in the peat bogs of Ireland. Another example will review our understanding of the element as the basic foundation of the universe. The fundamental purpose of Project Inclusion is the desire to make courses relevant to students, no matter what their interests or majors. Science and math should be theirs, meaningful to their experiences and appropriate to their backgrounds and cultures.

Patricia L. Perez has been a Professor of Chemistry at Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA, a public two-year, community college, since 1968, serving as department chairperson from 1989 to 1993. She is Co-Principal Investigator of Project Inclusion, a NSF-sponsored effort to focus student attention on the contributions of various underrepresented groups to the field of chemistry. In addition, she is a consortium participant in the Molecular Science Education Project, a UCLA-CSUF-community college alliance for systematic curricular reform. Perez is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Two-Year College Chemistry Committee and the California Association of Chemistry Teachers. She has made numerous presentations at local, regional and national meetings of these organizations and organized and presided over several symposia. Additionally, Perez has served on various NSF review panels and workshops. She earned a M.S. in Chemistry from UCLA in 1968.