The Eckerd College St. Pete Center Faculty Fellows are a group of scholars from a variety of disciplines with an interest in developing learning, research and/or service opportunities that address real-time problems facing the greater Tampa Bay area.
Each academic year, ECSPC supports up to five Faculty Fellow projects that will create meaningful partnerships and offer students curricular, research-based, and/or reflective service opportunities that bridge campus and community.
2023–2024 Faculty Fellows
Scientific Ethics for the Common Good: Connecting Classroom Conversations with Community Action
Ferguson and Goyette will launch the new course Science Ethics for the Common Good, directed at underclass STEM students to broaden their education to consider the real-world implications of invention and inquiry. The ECSPC Faculty Fellowship will be used to build a long-term community-based service project or internship that subsequent cohorts of students could continue to undertake. Students also will use Fellow funds to host an annual on-campus showcase of their community work, to bring the discussion of science for the common good to the entire community.
Used Once, Lasts Forever
As leaders of the movement to reduce single-use plastics at Eckerd College, Gowans and Siuda plan to use Faculty Fellowship funds to revive and expand the Used Once, Lasts Forever Art Show, a community art event where creatives turn trash into discussable art pieces that highlight the importance of reducing single-use plastics. Submissions to the expanded show will be open to Eckerd, local K–12 schools and the broader community. In addition to the show, the duo will also develop a St. Pete-focused zero waste event guide that can assist in planning of local events.
Jessica Leffers, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology
Dismantling Social Boundaries: Unthinking Race, Gender and Class
Pulling from her own background as a biracial woman, Leffers plans to engage K–12 students from local programs in an interventional study that will help them realize that stereotypes about race, gender and class are not genetically determined. With the help of Eckerd student researchers, Leffers plans to use the Faculty Fellowship to fund the study design and approval process, data collection and analysis, and development of a replicable educational program for future use.
Bjoern Muetzel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Finding the Right Angle: Community Math Project for Underserved Students
This project will offer geometry activities and math tutoring/homework help year-round at the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, which provides resources to underserved communities in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Foundation provides afterschool programs and a summer camp, which boasts that 80% of the students avoid summer learning loss. Muetzel plans to use Eckerd College student volunteers and manipulatives to encourage grade school students to persevere in math education. Eventually, he will develop a Reflective Service Learning component to his calculus classes, so his students may earn community service hours toward graduation for volunteering at the Foundation.
2022–2023 Faculty Fellows
Hilary Flower, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Michel Fougères, Director of Digital Strategy and Communications
Planting Seeds for Environmental Justice in St. Pete
This project aims to take positive steps toward environmental justice in St. Petersburg. Flower and Fougères will build the foundation for a potential future tree-planting project, focusing on building relationships with residents, community groups and city government. Planting trees in underserved neighborhoods can help alleviate the high temperatures of climate change. As students learn about global environmental change, they will simultaneously learn what it’s truly like to make change in the real world. Working with students on this initiative will be the hands-on, local component of the course Global Environmental Change (ES 317).
Harnessing People Power: Creating a Knowledge Hub to Support a More Just and Sustainable Local Food System in St. Petersburg
This project will connect community partners, students, faculty and staff to build a knowledge hub—or centralized space for knowledge-sharing and collaboration—based at the Eckerd College Community Farm. The knowledge hub will support local food justice, urban agriculture and garden education initiatives by identifying challenges and developing collaborative, locally specific solutions. Work on this project will be integrated into Himmelfarb’s Food and Sustainability (ES 228, FA22) and Food Movements (ES 328, SP23) courses this academic year.