UC Santa Barbara Week of SEISMIC

By Nita Tarchinski, edited by Ashley Atkinson


We Found the Big Plants and Big Smiles

University of California Santa Barbara Week of SEISMIC, April 18-22, 2022

And here we go again! The UCSB Week of SEISMIC kicked off on Monday with a meeting to formally connect SEISMIC with the UCSB Instructional Development Team. They discussed ways current SEISMIC Experiments projects could integrate with the work of the Instructional Developers. Following this, the core UCSB SEISMIC team got together to discuss how to expand involvement in SEISMIC at UCSB.




Several ideas were shared, including starting a UCSB-SEISMIC Seminar Series that meets 3 times per quarter. Members proposed that these seminars could consist of local talks, workshops, visitors, a coffee hour, and a journal club. This would provide a recurring opportunity for UCSB members to engage as a SEISMIC community.

Tuesday launched the work of the Access to Practice project team. The goal – get chemistry faculty at UCSB on board with using peer-reviewed writing activities in their courses. Laura Brown was a phenomenal advocate for this effort, having several success stories to share regarding her own experiences reforming introductory chemistry. After some informal conversations over lunch, Laura Brown, Vanessa Woods, and Maggie Safronova teamed up for an Access to Practice Roundtable conversation, providing the opportunity for interested instructors to learn about the project and how it could work in their contexts. The conversations continued over chips and guac at Carlito’s in the evening.

Meanwhile, the University of Michigan ECoach team was making their way to Santa Barbara. They arrived in time for a tasty meal at Finney’s Crafthouse, preceded by a walk along the pier at sunset.


The next day we were full steam ahead on consultations about new ECoach programs at UCSB. The ECoach team met with the UCSB Teaching and Learning team, including staff in Instructional Development and the Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning (CITRAL), to devise a plan for the development and implementation of a new ECoach for the Fall 2022 Intro Biology Cohort. This fall, students in two biology departments — MCDB  and EEMB — will receive tailored messaging from Intro Bio Coordinators in an effort to help students successfully navigate the introductory Biology sequence. A scenic drive into the mountains and dinner at Flor de Maíz capped off the evening.


The next day brought the SEISMIC Scholars and Office Hours project teams to campus. The SEISMIC Scholars organizing team, consisting of Vanessa Woods, Mike Wilton, Anna James, Sabrina Solanki, Nita Tarchinski, and Karen Vega Vega, took a deep dive into planning for the 2022 SEISMIC Scholars program. After, we hosted a panel discussion for UCSB students, staff, and faculty to learn more about the SEISMIC Scholars experience from two past Scholars – Karen Vega Vega and Angela Torres. Having both worked on the Office Hours project last summer, Karen and Angela shared two perspectives on how a student can engage with the program and have their own distinct research topic.

After, the Office Hours project team met to get organized and prepare for the next day’s activities.

We closed out the afternoon with a stunning reception on the roof of the Mosher Alumni House.

SEISMIC Project Manager Nita Tarchinski hosted a rousing game of SEISMIC Trivia, resulting in several attendees leaving with some new SEISMIC swag.

The evening wrapped up with a fantastic dinner at The Leta Hotel for the Office Hours team. While some had to leave early, those who stayed until the end were rewarded with decadent desserts and a rainy drive home.

On the final day of the week, the Office Hours project team engaged in a full-day meeting to move their research agenda forward, including discussions on possible grant opportunities and organizing publication goals.

And there you have it. The third Week of SEISMIC brought on another round of productive meetings, engaging presentations, good food, and big smiles.


Nita Tarchinski

Nita Tarchinski is the Project Manager for the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Collaboration, coordinating multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research and teaching projects focused on making introductory STEM courses more equitable and inclusive.

Ashley Atkinson

Ashley Atkinson is a Program Assistant for SEISMIC Central, lending a hand to whichever projects need support. Her primary projects include the SEISMIC website, making graphics for various efforts, and editing a podcast. As an alum from Michigan State University, Ashley is passionate about equity and inclusion in STEM alongside science communication.