“Action potentials and action-oriented mentorship” – Don Davies Indigenous Science Candidate
Dr. Don Davies St. Boniface Hospital Research Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders Winnipeg, MB
Friday March 5, 2021 9:30-10:30 am
THIS COLLOQUIUM WILL BE CONDUCTED VIA ZOOM.
Please email [email protected] for zoom link.
Abstract: The action potential is a fundamental process of all behaviour and function in the brain. Therefore, the action potential is a fundamental mechanism that students are required to understand before advancing to more complex concepts in biology. I will start the lesson by describing the structure of a neuron. I will introduce how sodium and potassium affect the membrane potential and ask students to think about how voltage can change with the flow of ions. Since the action potential is a complex concept, I will break down the action potential into five phases to increase student understanding. These five phases include, the resting state, depolarization, rising phase of the action potential, falling phase of the action potential, and the undershoot. I will use concept checks throughout the lesson for students to actively engage in learning. Indigenous students typically encounter more barriers than non-Indigenous students. These barriers can include, but are not limited to, lack of quality education in their primary and secondary school, lack of money to fund their education, and leaving family behind in remote communities to attend University. Traditional academic mentorship teaches individuals how to navigate their discipline at their specific academic institution. This mentorship style fails to consider the complexities of multiple marginalities such as Indigenous women. The action-oriented mentorship model requires that the mentor try to understand what the mentee is experiencing. The mentor may be able to guide the mentee to the appropriate services such as tutoring to improve specific academic skills, navigating scholarships and bursaries, and programs to give Indigenous students a sense of community for those who have moved away from their family. Action-oriented mentorship may result in mentees doing more impactful work, acting autonomously, and stretching their limits.