Plenary Speaker Profile (2023-24)
Sibrina Nichelle Collins
Executive Director of STEM Education
Lawrence Technological University
How can storytelling be leveraged to improve representation in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) community?

Storytelling as a pedagogical tool provides another learning format for students to discover more about the scientists behind the innovations that impact our society. We will examine the impact of various stories explored in a social science seminar course with the theme, “Equity and History of Science.” The stories explored in the course include Alice Augusta Ball, a young chemist who discovered the first viable treatment for leprosy in the early 20th century, and Dr. William Schieffelin Claytor, the 3rd African American to earn a PhD in mathematics in the United States. We will also discuss a practical example of how chemistry faculty can use strategies that leverage popular films such as Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, where the fictional element vibranium (Vb) is an important protagonist for student engagement in chemistry.

Sibrina N. Collins earned a PhD in inorganic chemistry from The Ohio State University and served as the Founding Executive Director of the Marburger STEM Center on the campus of Lawrence Technological University (2016 – 2023). Beginning January 2023, she was appointed as Executive Director of STEM Education for the College of Arts and Sciences (CoAS) at Lawrence Tech. In 2018, she received the Real McCoy Award in Science from the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) for her leadership and public engagement efforts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Her research efforts include inorganic chemistry, chemical education, history of chemistry, and addressing inclusion and equity in the STEM fields. Dr. Collins is an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), serving as an Associate Member on the National Historic Chemical Landmark (NHCL) Subcommittee. She has published in ACS journals including Inorganic Chemistry, the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry and the Journal of Chemical Education. Dr. Collins served as editor of the ACS Symposium Series Volume 1381 entitled “African American Chemists: Academia, Industry and Social Entrepreneurship.” She has authored a book chapter in the ACS Symposium Series Volume 1370 entitled “Inorganic Chemistry: Vibranium and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther,” and “Critical Mass Takes Courage: Diversity in the Chemical Sciences” published in the ACS Symposium Series Volume 1256. In 2020, Dr. Collins’ career pathway was featured in the “Career Ladder” spotlight published by Chemical and Engineering News.