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School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver

School of Education and Human Development
 

Geeta K. Verma, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Science Education


My Story:

It is always interesting when I am asked to tell my story. My first response is which one? Does my story have to have a linear sequence of events or for that matter the same interpretation of events? I also wonder if I have to highlight certain parts of my story to make the message more effective. Do you feel this way as well or is it just me?

In any case, I am originally from India. I was an avid science student through middle/high school and college. I received my MS in Zoology at the University of Delhi (although it is a good question why I majored in Zoology when Physics happened to be my favorite subject and I was pretty good at it.) After finishing my MS in Zoology, I was standing at the crossroads of either pursuing my PhD in Zoology or exploring other options. One of these available options was to walk across the street to the department of education building and apply to the licensure program in education. 

The admission process comprised of a written test and two sets of interview sessions (to test one’s fluency in the content area and also in co-curricular activities.) For the co-curricular interview process, I had to fall back on my prolific participation in the debate club activities as well as poem writing/recitation experiences during my middle and high school years.  I ended up reciting a poem as part of the interview process (called Jugnu, a firefly) by an Indian author (Harivansh Rai Bachchan) who wrote many beautiful poems in Hindi (one of the 22 languages recognized by constitution of India.) If you are interested in reading the poem in Hindi, here is the link: http://www.manaskriti.com/kaavyaalaya/jugnoo1.stm.

I couldn’t find the English translation of the poem but I can briefly share that the poem is about a firefly (symbolic of life’s struggles) that braves through the night storm and still keeps going. To me, this poem still brings together my love for science and literature as it showcases how one can view the same entity (a firefly) so differently depending on the lens one uses to see the world. In any case, the interview experience in itself, the classes during the program, and of course teaching in the classrooms opened a totally new world to me. I was hooked to science teaching. I taught 2nd grade (all subjects), middle school (all science subjects), and high school (Biology) in a very progressive school in Delhi and simultaneously pursued my masters in education at the University of Delhi. My interest in science education research brought me to Kent State University, Ohio where I completed my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction (science education.)

I have lived and worked in four different states in the US: Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, and now Colorado and I have always admired the work that science teachers do in making science accessible to all students despite the many challenge they face in their everyday professional lives.

My Students at CU Denver:

I feel that my background and educational preparation allows me to bring interesting and challenging ideas to my teaching. My hope is that students feel challenged as well as supported in my classes. My ultimate goal is that my students and I can create hybrid spaces where all of us find a voice in our teaching and learning.

Classes I Teach

Elementary Methods course – UEDU 4004/5004
Theory and Pedagogy of Science Instruction – UEDU 4400/5400
Inquiry Science Pedagogy and Practices – UEDU 4401/5401
Multicultural Science Education – ELED 5340/SECE 5340 
The Nature of Science - SECE 5500
Issues and Problems in Science Education – ELED 5340/SECE 5340

My Research Interests:

Connected and/or contextualized science education
Science education for social justice

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