Slesnick Symposium - 2024

2024 Annual Slesnick Symposium

Friday, May 10th

This year's symposium brought to you by the Irwin L Slesnick Endowment.


Schedule and registration Information

Schedule of Events

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m.
    In-Person at Western: SL 220
  • 9:00-10:30 a.m. 
    In-Person at Western: SL 220
    Math Strong: Cultivating Joy, Justice and Innovation in K-20 STEM Education
    Interactive Workshop with Julia Aguirre: Participants will do some math together and discuss roles and commitments to dismantling systemic inequities to uplift  joy, justice, and innovation in STEM.
  • 10:30 a.m. Break
  • 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    In-Person at Western: SL 220
    Student Panel: Inclusive practices That Help Students Learn
    In-Person at Western: SL 220
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. 
    In-Person at Western: SL 220
  • 1:00-3:30 p.m.
    In-Person at Western. Attend all or choose sessions on day of event.

    Talk Time 


    Talk Title 


    1:00 pm 


    The Lowdown on Pronouns: Insights and Advice from Queer Students 

    Out in Education 

    Rebecca Borowski 



    Investigating Common, Effective, and Equitable Instructional Strategies in STEM Undergraduate Education by Dustin Van Orman, Daniel Hanley, Josie Melton, Abbey Gray, Makayla Wilson, and Greta Moses 

    Dustin Van Orman 

    Dan Hanley 

    1:30 pm 


    Attempts at Equity: Narrowing the gap through assessment math 

    Dan Van Hees 



    Finding Innovative Assessment Strategies: Exploring Problem Based Learning for Organic Chemistry Courses 

    Lauren Dudley 

    2:00 pm 


    A framework for equitable, student-centered undergraduate STEM instruction 

    Dan Hanley 

    Dustin Van Orman 



    Undergraduate Biology Students' Ideas about the Biological Basis of Race 

    Deb Donovan 

    Jasper Conery 

    2:30 pm 


    Strategies for Incorporating Universal Design for Learning in Your Classes Without Wrecking Your Work/Life Balance 

    Rebecca Borowski 



    Ungrading the lab: feedback and motivation in a course-based research experience 

    Lina Dahlberg 

    3:00 pm 






    Building a Responsive STEM Classroom Around Access Needs 

    Katie Rupe 

  • 4:00-5:00 p.m.
    In-Person at Western: SL 220 or webinar on Zoom
    What is Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Why Does it Matter In STEM Education
    Keynote by Django Paris

  • 5:00-6:00 p.m.
    In-Person at Western: SL 220

Keynote Talk by Django Paris,  "What is Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Why Does it Matter In STEM Education?" 

Django Paris

Django Paris

Django Paris is the inaugural James A. and Cherry A. Banks Professor of Multicultural Education and director of the Banks Center for Educational Justice  in the College of Education at the University of Washington on Coast Salish homelands.  His teaching and research focus on centering and sustaining Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific Islander youth and communities in the context of ongoing resurgence, decolonization, liberation, and justice movements in and beyond schools. His recent collaborative books include Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World and Education in Movement Spaces: Standing Rock to Chicago Freedom Square. Paris is also the editor of the Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies series with Teachers College Press. He has published in many academic journals, including the Harvard Educational Review and Educational Researcher.

"Culturally sustaining pedagogy exists wherever education sustains the lifeways of communities who have been and continue to be damaged and erased through schooling."

Dr. Django Paris

Julia Maria Aguirre, Ph.D.

Dr. Julia Aguirre

Julia Maria Aguirre is a Professor of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her work focuses on critical equity studies in mathematics education, teacher education, culturally responsive mathematics pedagogy, and mathematical modeling. Dr. Aguirre is co-author of four books: The Impact of Identity in K-12 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-Based Practices (2024); Cultivating Mathematical Hearts: Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teaching in Elementary Classrooms (2023); Transforming Mathematics Teacher Education: An Equity-based Approach (2019); and The Impact of Identity in K-8 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-based Practices (2013); She has taught mathematics in formal and informal classroom settings. She is committed to working with educators to positively impact children’s math learning by reimagining their pedagogy to leverage student strengths and experiences; partner with families and communities; dismantle academic apartheid; and advocate for mathematics education that cultivates justice, joy, and civic engagement. She welcomes all to make learning mathematics more meaningful, humanizing and just.

About the Symposium

Irwin Slesnick showing flower parts to a child


The late Dr. Slesnick retired in 1996 after a 33-year career on Western's College of Sciences and Technology biology faculty. During his 33 years in the biology department, he profoundly impacted thousands of students and future science teachers. His vision and tireless advocacy for improving science education played a critical role in gaining approval for constructing the Science Education Building and influenced its unique design. Slesnick was instrumental in the establishment of the current SMATE program housed in the building that continues the work he started. The annual Irwin L. Slesnick STEM Education Symposium is a tribute to his memory.

Past Symposia

The Irwin L. Slesnick STEM Education Symposium was begun in 2014.  Each year's speakers and workshops have been recorded and are available on the Past Symposia page.