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Erika Nadile

Erika Nadile
Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Connections
Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching

Erika M. Nadile, a biology education researcher by training, joined the Searle Center in September 2022 as the Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Connections. Nadile earned her master’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UMass Lowell), a university close to her hometown. She is currently a PhD candidate at Arizona State University (ASU), in the Center for Biology and Society exploring how instructor decisions in large-enrollment science classrooms can impact different identity groups of students. Nadile is passionate about guiding and supporting other graduate students as they navigate their teaching-related careers and interests by centering their voices and experiences.

Prior to becoming a member of the Searle Center, Nadile was involved in enhancing the student experience in multiple ways at both UMass Lowell and ASU. Through research efforts, she contributed to expanding the knowledge base surrounding how motivation changes in introductory biology students, particularly, how first-generation college students from underrepresented backgrounds change in their motivation. Moreover, she uncovered that voluntary participation, a popular teaching tool, can impact students differentially. For instance, first-generation college students particularly enjoy hearing others participate in science classrooms. Her findings continue to inspire her as a first-generation college student herself, and she takes them into consideration when designing and developing education-related materials.

While at ASU, Nadile took a leading role contributing to the mission of supporting students, both graduate and undergraduate students, and faculty members by co-organizing a variety of initiatives and through teaching efforts. She facilitated a large virtual speaker series in collaboration with her early research mentor, Sara Brownell (PhD) and the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (SABER) to promote inclusion in academic biology spaces. Further, she re-imagined and co-facilitated a graduate student orientation for new teaching assistants while working in the Teaching Innovation Center (TIC). In addition, she also organized and facilitated the BioBridge Early Start Program for incoming Life Science students to promote a sense of awareness, community, and well-being. She had also re-imagined what being a teaching assistant online could be for an animal physiology course while collaborating with a team of teaching assistants.

Nadile has maintained the passion to explore motivation, specifically in college instructors and helping others to recognize their passions. She hopes to contribute to supporting graduate students and postdocs at Northwestern by supporting their drive to teach and create inclusive learning spaces for all students.

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