Students in Valerie Foster's lower-division biology course have a genuine interest in doing their class research projects. Experiencing the raging hormones associated with being in their late teens and early twenties, the students are delighted to explore the subject of human mate preference. Harnessing that keen interest, Foster helps her students to explore published studies on the topic, develop their own hypotheses, conduct an experiment and communicate their results in a scientific paper or poster.
"The topic is intrinsically motivating," said Foster, an associate professor at Pasadena City College. "It's a fun topic, thrilling for them actually. They get to do an experiment on something that's relevant in their lives."
Because of its ingenuity and effectiveness in getting students to engage thoroughly in real science, the multi-day course module Evolution of Human Mate Preference has been selected to win the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI).
Congratulations to Dr. Foster and her students!