We are delighted to introduce our newest online science instructor – Melanie Shivraj. Ms. Shivraj is teaching Molecular Genetics and Epidemiology this year. She is an exemplary teacher invested in the pedagogy of a student-centered classroom. Her students agree on the ground rules of classroom behavior, listen to each other, and respectfully agree or disagree. As a colleague, she brings a scholarly rigor to her professional learning community, inspiring others to read and engage in discussion of research-based pedagogy.
As co-chair of the Science DEI Committee (with Dr. Ariana Eily), she has led the way to develop and implement plans to support and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in Science Department teaching and extracurricular activities. She is committed to practices that promote listening, open discussion, and informed decision-making. Under her leadership, the committee worked iteratively with members of the Science Department to craft an action plan with clear steps and measurable outcomes.
Ms. Shivraj was recently awarded a SEED Fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The SEED Fellows are a group of STEM educators who support each other as they advocate for social justice in education. They meet regularly to learn together about diversity, equity, and inclusion and will implement just practices in their classrooms by the end of the calendar year.
Ms. Shivraj earned her B.S. in biology and chemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill while she also worked in a translational breast cancer research lab at Duke University. While in college, she spent a semester in India, where she worked in an HIV/AIDS clinic in Chennai. After graduation, Ms. Shivraj moved to NYC to pursue her master’s degree in science education before starting her teaching career in Harlem. This jumpstarted seven years of work in education that fostered a love of equity and inclusion work in educational settings. Ms. Shivraj continued teaching in sunny San Diego, California, before deciding to move back to NC this summer. She is a diehard Tar Heel, spent a full month in France last summer for the Women's World Cup, and loves spending her time outside with her husband and dog.