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Cinda Scott

Cinda Scott, Ph.D.

Location

Panama

Education

Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Fisheries, Molecular Evolutionary Genomics
University of Miami (FL, USA)

Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program
Columbia University (NY, USA)

B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies, Spanish minor
Middlebury College (VT, USA)

Teaching

BIOL 1101 Introduction to Biology Lecture and Laboratory
(New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, NY) 2011-2014

SFS 2070 Language Culture and Society of Panama
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3530 Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring and Management
(The School for Field Studies)

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Cinda Scott, Ph.D.

Center Director

About

Professional Activities


2014
Review Panelist, National Science Foundation- IUSE Division of Undergraduate Education
2011
Manuscript Reviewer, Journal of Comparative Physiology B

Faculty Profile


In 1998, I ventured to Golfito, Costa Rica to study Tropical Marine Biology for one semester. I learned how to scuba dive and my life was forever changed. The exposure to underwater ecosystems and organisms led me on a path to understand the significance of the biological and genetic diversity that exists within and between all species.

Since completing my PhD in 2009, with a research focus on the heritability of evolved differences in gene expression to better understand the biological significance of genetic variation, I decided to explore an important and pressing issue that continues to affect the education of young people in the United States; low retention of students, particularly women and minority students, in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM) programs. Prior to joining the School for Field Studies, I served as the National Science Foundation Innovation through Institutional Innovation (I3) Program Manager at New York City College of Technology. In this role, I worked to bring more real-world, hands on opportunities for students in STEM laboratories to encourage students to pursue degrees in STEM. The objectives of the project included bridging basic mathematics and science with applied technology by creating new interdisciplinary laboratory content as well as adopting laboratory pedagogy that fosters active learning and problem solving rather than rote memorization. I consistently worked with both students and faculty members to understand what was needed to improve laboratory learning. My teaching experience as an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at City Tech aided my understanding of the student experience at a large urban, commuter, Minority Serving Institution (MSI). I have been an advocate for students to be provided with greater opportunities in STEM research and I worked closely with the Provost, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Assessment and Institutional Research to study trends in STEM learning in order to make significant and sustained institutional change.

My interests lie at the crossroads of improving undergraduate STEM laboratory experiences and the administrative entities that work to provide students with educational opportunities. I am thrilled to be part of the TIBS, Panama program where I will be able to weave together my expertise in marine biology, program management and undergraduate education. My educational and professional background includes grant writing, implementation and management, STEM undergraduate education program development and management, strategic planning, broadening student participation in STEM, marine biology, quantitative genetics, faculty professional development and teaching and mentoring students.

Research Interests


My research interests have varied greatly over the years, but I have always been captivated by marine organisms, especially fish. As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to work side by side with some of the foremost marine biologists at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Salisbury Cove, Maine. While there, I used marine organisms, specifically Squalus acanthias, to understand molecular mechanisms of human disease such as cystic fibrosis. As a graduate student, my work originally focused on diseases in marine organisms with a particular focus on cancer in fish. I completed my graduate work in marine molecular evolutionary genomics and focused my research on answering questions regarding the variation in mRNA expression and whether the heritability of gene expression is primarily a function of genetics or the environment. I look forward to working with the TIBS faculty team to continue to develop and implement the Five-Year Research Plan.

Research Projects


Projects prior to SFS

As a graduate student, I investigated the genetic basis of evolved differences in gene expression in Fundulus heteroclitus.   My research specifically focused on the role of the environment and its effects on the variation in gene expression within and between populations of F. heteroclitus.  cDNA microarrays containing F. heteroclitus cardiac metabolic genes were used to determine whether a genetic component of gene expression can describe the variation in gene expression between inbred and outbred individuals from the same population.  The results showed that variation in mRNA expression is related to the genetic variation among individuals within a group. The heritability of the variation in gene expression was estimated to determine the genetic basis of gene expression in F1 individuals from natural, outbred populations of F. heteroclitus.  The estimates of heritability range from 0.25 to 0.86 depending on the estimation method with approximately 6.5% of genes having significant heritability. The results support the concept that genetic variation affects variation in mRNA expression among natural populations of F. heteroclitus. The overall significance of this work is that natural, heritable variation in gene expression is important for understanding evolutionary adaptation and the role of natural selection in evolutionary processes.  The quantification of the variation in gene expression between individuals is important for understanding how much of the variation in expression is explained by evolution by natural selection. More importantly, estimates of the genetic component of the variation in gene expression allows for more specific detection of deficiencies or mutations in particular regions of a genome. Studies using natural populations of Fundulus heteroclitus remain important to the overall understanding of genetic variation and its biological importance.  This research was funded by NIH, NIEHS, NOAA EPP, NACME and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

GRANTS AND AWARDS

  • March 2014, SENCER Summer Institute Post-Implementation Award, NYCCT, CUNY
  • February 2014, Recipient of the 2014 Service and Appreciation Award for improving and supporting STEM education and laboratory experiences—New York City College of Technology, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2002-2009, NOAA Educational Partnership Program-Environmental Cooperative Sciences Center Fellowship recipient
  • 2003-2009, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering- Alfred P. Sloan scholarship recipient
Academics

Publications

Eggers-Piérola, C., August, B., Scott, C.P., Brown, P., & Lansiquot, R.D. (2016). In Technology, Theory, and Practice in Interdisciplinary STEM Programs: Connecting STEM and Non-STEM Approaches, ed. Reneta D. Lansiquot (New York: Palgrave).
Scott, C. P., August, B., & Eggers-Piérola, C. (2013). In R. Lansiquot (Ed.), Cases on Interdisciplinary Research Trends in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Studies on Urban Classrooms (pp. 320-348). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-2214-2.ch013
Scott CP, Williams, DA, Crawford DL (2009). Molecular Ecology 18(13), p2832-2843
Scott CP, VanWye J, McDonald MD, Crawford DL (2009). PLoS ONE 4(2): e4486.

Presentations

March 2014: Improving the Undergraduate STEM Experience, Technical Education Resource Centers (TERC) and the National Science Foundation Summative Assessment of the Innovation through Institutional Integration (I-Cubed) Program, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., poster presentation.
Annual Summer Institute, San Jose, CA, attendee as part of a four person team from New York City College of Technology.
April 2013: Kapi’olani Community College and New York City College of Technology Faculty Exchange, Case Study Workshop, Kapi’olani Community College, Honolulu, HI, event coordinator and presenter.
Nov 2012: Network for Academic Renewal Conference, Next-Generation STEM Learning: Investigate, Innovate, Inspire, Kansas City, Missouri, workshop presenter.
New York City College of Technology, New York, NY, event coordinator and moderator.
September 2012 and February 2013- Brooklyn Navy Yard Anchors Internship Information Session, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Brooklyn, NY, event coordinator, presenter.
June 2012: NSF JAM, Joint Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, poster presentation.
March 2012: Young Women in STEM Workshop, New York City College of Technology, New York, NY, event coordinator, moderator and speaker.
July 2011: City College Bridge to the Doctorate Program, New York, NY, presenter.
June 2011: Quality Education for Minorities Network, Workshop on Broadening Participation Efforts within National Science Foundation funded Innovation through Institutional Integration Projects, Baltimore, MD, workshop participant and presenter.
Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, attendee.
Annual Conference, Washington, DC, attendee.
June 2008: Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, Annual Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, poster presentation.
July 2007: Gordon Research Conference, ‘Evolutionary and Ecological Functional Genomics’, Newport, RI, poster presentation.
October 2006: NOAA Educational Partnership Program Education and Science Forum, Florida A&M University, Tallahasee, FL, oral presentation.
June 2006: Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics, Module attendee, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
June 2005: Society for Experimental Biology Main Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, poster presentation.